ABC Orders Extra Helpings of ‘Black-ish,’ ‘Speechless,’ Four Other Comedies

ABC is extending its episode orders for six of its comedies, Variety has confirmed. “The Middle,” “American Housewife,” “Fresh Off the Boat,” “The Goldbergs,” “Speechless,” and “Black-ish” have all been given marching orders for additional episodes. “Black-ish” and “The Goldbergs” are a go for two more, for a total season order of 24; the rest have all had one ep added, for a total of 23 each.

It’s an unsurprising move, given that ABC’s comedy blocks are relatively stable islands in a sea of ratings erosion at the network. Freshman dramas “Notorious” and “Conviction” were non-starters, with “Notorious” averaging a 0.9 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and finishing its first-season run with a ghastly 0.5 in the demo. “How to Get Away With Murder,” once a rare bright spot in the 10 p.m. hour, has seen its ratings for the night drop by a third.

Speechless” and “American Housewife” have been stout freshman performers. “Speechless” is weighing in with a 1.7 in the demo and around 5.85 million viewers, while “American Housewife” has on occasion built on its “The Middle” lead-in, and is currently averaging a 1.6 in the demo and 5.59 million viewers. The new comedies have also fared well critically.

“Black-ish” is fresh off three Golden Globe nominations — one each for series leads Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson, and one for the series as a whole. “We have an opportunity to use our voices, and how we use them and acknowledge and celebrate each other, and set an example for the world and continue to shine light on what we are as a country,” Ross told Variety after learning of her nod.

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