Every network, it seems, has a bugaboo time period on its schedule, and for ABC it clearly is the final hour of primetime on Tuesday.
The longtime home of one of the Alphabet’s most successful and acclaimed dramas ever, “NYPD Blue,” Tuesday-at-10 in recent years has been a turnstile of, well, turkeys. In many cases, these shows were off-brand, and given the network’s overall struggles earlier on the night and its lack of a Tuesday identity, it seemed like the only place on the schedule for programmers to slot them.
“Of Kings and Prophets” was originally scheduled to air Sundays at 10 p.m. last fall, but the network ended up pulling and then retooling the biblical drama, replacing it with “Quantico.” When “Kings” did finally air, odds seemed stacked against it, and its new intended timeslot of Tuesday at 10 only seemed to hasten the inevitable. Airing behind the low-rated “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD,” “Of Kings and Prophets” began with a thud (0.8 rating in adults 18-49), and after dropping to a mere 0.5 this week, the net had no choice but to cancel it.
ABC had travelled this same road just a few months earlier. The critically panned serial killer drama “Wicked City” opened to a mere 0.9 rating in November and was killed off two weeks later when it dipped to a tiny 0.4. (Specials and alternative series like “Beyond the Tank” and “What Would You Do?” served as interim timeslot-fillers during the winter.)
With the exception of a brief stint in the 9 o’clock hour midway through its run, cop drama “NYPD Blue” aired just about all of its 261 episodes in the Tuesday-at-10 hour from September 1993 through its finale in March 2005. But its exit left a big hole that the network has since been unable to adequately fill. Sure, a couple of shows — “Boston Legal” and “Private Practice” — ended up doing OK there after moving over from other nights, but nothing really stuck.
Starting in 2008 with “Eli Stone,” ABC has burned through more than a dozen dramas in the Tuesday-at-10 hour, including “Cupid,” the aptly named “The Forgotten” in 2009 and “Detroit 187” in 2010. The death slot had a particularly bad year two seasons ago, when “Lucky Seven” (1.3 rating for its premiere), “Killer Women” (0.9) and “Mind Games” (1.1) all came and went in a blink.
ABC’s best luck in this time period (relatively speaking) has been with crime procedurals. Both the Dana Delany-fronted “Body of Proof” in 2011 and Ioan Gruffudd-led “Forever” in 2015 showed a pulse and stuck around a while, but the network eventually gave them the hook in hopes of finding something better.
But after a couple of more disappointments this season, they’re still waiting.