When ABC released its “strike-proof” fall schedule, many were shocked by what was not on it — meaning any original episodes of scripted series.
Some were also surprised to see that the broadcaster had not filled any time slots with fare from its streaming sister, Disney+.
When the WGA strike launched on May 2, TVLine, for one, had speculated that the likes of, say, the streamer’s flagship Star Wars series The Mandalorian (which debuted three-and-a-half years ago) or its first MCU series WandaVision (which debuted almost two-and-a-half years ago) might find a home on ABC. (ABC to date has only aired The Mandalorian‘s very first episode, on a Friday back in February, where it drew 2.5 million viewers).
Instead, ABC thus far is planning to elude an impact from the writers strike with a fall slate chockablock with game shows, reality-TV and back-to-back Abbott Elementary reruns on Wednesday.
As a guest on THR’s latest TV’s Top 5 podcast, Ari Goldman, Senior VP Content Strategy & Scheduling at ABC Entertainment, addressed the possibility of Disney+ content at some point joining ABC’s “strike-proof” schedule, if the work stoppage proved to be an extended one.
“Certainly, we had conversations — and we’ll continue to have conversations about the Disney portfolio,” Goldman said.
It is, however, easier said than done to drop the likes of Loki or National Treasure: Edge of History onto a broadcast schedule.
“From a scheduling standpoint,” Goldman explained, “there are thing we have to work through,” including “the formats of these shows that are not designed for broadcast.”
WandaVision episodes, for example, run anywhere from 31 to 51 minutes — without any ads. Similarly, The Mandalorian episodes are as short as 33 minutes, or as long as 59.
“We have a certain duration we have to fit to and accommodate our ad load,” Goldman said. There also can be “standards and practices concerns that we have to address.
“Everything and anything is on the table,” when it comes to filling the ABC schedule if the strike runs long, the scheduler allowed. “But I don’t think we’re there yet” in needing to pull Disney+ content off the bench.
Besides, Goldman repeatedly noted, fresh episodes of unscripted fare don’t exactly put up shabby numbers. Bachelor in Paradise (returning on Tuesdays this fall) is ABC’s No. 3-rated entertainment program (tie), and Celebrity Jeopardy! (which will lead into Bachelor in Paradise) performs as well as the network’s best-rated scripted fare.
“The alternative shows we’re airing this fall are [successful] linear performers,” the scheduler said. “The ABC audience, they love these game shows. They watch Wheel and Jeopardy every night [during drive time], so I think we should acknowledge there is a wide swath of older-skewing viewers who do love exactly the product we’re putting forth. That said, we’ll see what happens.”
While true, it seems like this would be worth the effort for them. Those shows would surely do better than endless reality crap.
Even the CW made some conscious effort on their schedule despite Nexstar running it to the ground with their cheapness.
I wish instead of writing it off they would move Willow reruns to ABC.
But then they would have to pay residuals to the writers and actors and the strike is about NOT paying residuals or at least as few as possible.
But there is NO SUCH THING as a show that has no writers whatsoever! “Unscripted shows” still have some form of a script! My late godfather wrote things like talk show scripts and the Jerry Lewis Telethon. When folks seemed surprised to hear that, he’d always respond “What…ya’ think he just adlibs for 24 hours?” Perhaps these script writers are not union members, or they’ll use PR types to write the scripts. But the idea that these replacement shows are “unscripted” is just not true. It’s just a different type of script.
Even Mrs Maisel shows the writers room at a talk show!
To answer your question, The ones doing the reality shows aren’t affiliated with a union
TY. Thought so. (Unions are newer than my late godfather, who was 90 when he passed away a couple of years ago. And FWIW, personally, I’d like to see solidarity between the script writers and the “unscripted” writers.)
Home shopping channels have scripts too – not just catalogue speak on cuts and colors but actual banter and commentary between the hosts.
Those writers call themselves producers to avoid the union. Some talk shows are WGA and those are the ones not airing originals at the moment. Others, either are ignoring the strike or changing writing titles to producers. I can almost guarantee you that your godfather was a “coordinating producer”.
Most of those writers are called producers by the owners of the show. Many would rather be called writers and have union protection.
My Godfather died at 90 a couple of years ago, and had pretty much retired by then. :) His “main role” was as a publicist/PR guy, first with Screen Gems and later with Paramount, but he did the writing as a “side gig” for years. To give you an idea of how ancient he was, he worked on things like The Flintstones, I Dream of Jeannie, Happy Days, etc. But no, he was never a “Producer.” Just “in PR.”
The industry changed a LOT over the past few decades. :)
If they have a show over at Disney that does not run the normal 42 minutes with commercials, they could easily run it out of an episode of dancing with the stars and shorten that show and have it lead out of it early keeping eyes on ABC and now switching early at say 945 over to another channel and trying Mandalorian or something else
I imagine that the overly paid executives have already thought of this solution. I wouldn’t make their job easier for them if I were you.
Someone has to check Hulu & Disney+ libraries, one by one, to find shows whose producers opted for a 22-ish (comedy) or 42-ish minutes (drama) format with international broadcast TV sales in mind and that can be easy to censor (violence, nudity, sexuality, language) or edit out some non-pivotal scenes.
Or more shows like Maggie, a show that was intended to air on ABC but got shifted to Hulu at the last minute. It definitely feels like an ABC show as far as content and runtimes go.
But they could edit the shows to be in Wonderful World of Disney on Sundays sometimes.
Disney plus shows would BE better than any of the reality garbage they currently are planning on running in the fall. You think they would be smart…but nope. Lol
I’m surprised they haven’t decided to hold season two of The Wonder Years for fall. Isn’t that still scheduled to air in June? I would think that pairing a new episode of TWY with a rerun of Abbott would be better than the back-to-back Abbott reruns.
I dont understand The Wonder Years decision either. The only reason I can come up with, for not pushing the series to fall, Disney/ABC wants to quietly air The Wonder Years season 2 episodes over summer and be done with it.
Well I see theyte aring a Marvel movie on Thurs. so it’s possible to air non network content. I see shows like Bachelor & Grey’s go over by a Min. So they could just air 2 or more episodes of something back to back & take the full 3 Hr. primetime. Plus this would allow people to see the 1st season of something & decide to get Disney+ for the other seadons.
On contour, it’s going to get very old one hour blocks of wheel and jeopardy and I’m 51. I’m not watching none of that crap or do I ever BORING! Now if ABC wants the new BACHELOR Golden year whatever run well it needs at least 8pm. I don’t know anyone who’s going to stay up that late in their age group to watch, DUH!
Yes, the writers strike will go on for a long time why? BC, they already make too much damn money now. Now, please think about the last season of DWTS and the new female Doogie!
I love my reality and I love my new last summer’s CLAIM TO FAME!!!! I can’t wait for S2!!!
Speak for yourself. I’m 58 and I’m up as late as I ever was.
Since the Jeopardy writers are WGA and thus on strike and a lot of celebrities (including host Mayim Bialik) are striking in solidarity with the writers, will they even be able to get a new season of Celebrity Jeopardy on air this fall? Even if they get Ken to host and bring in scab writers, I still can’t imagine the contestant pool will be very good (it will probably be filled with athletes and reality TV ‘stars’).
Get ready for Wheel of Fortune: Tik Tok Stars and a Celebrity Influencers Jeopardy that makes the Sean Connery incarnation on SNL look sage.
In 2023, we have so many fame whores who will do anything for “exposure.” It’s kind of sad. Because the networks make more $$$ and those standing for right have challenges like that to face.
Just like Ken refusing to stand in solidarity along with Mayim.
Just think…paying these guys what is fair would be so much easier than basically signing off on the death of network TV instead.
How would bringing in non-union writers affect the contestant pool?
This really doesn’t help. ABC has a good scripted lineup. I hope the strike ends soon so we can get the regular shows back. Also, ABC needs to run shows right up to Christmas. Taking a winter break starting well before Thanksgiving is unnecessary.
I call bs. Paramount is airing 1883 on it’s TV Network this Summer after Premiering it exclusively on Paramount+. Surely if Paramount can do it with one single series, Disney can work it out with their library.
This is exciting news! I don’t care to stream because I don’t like watching on my PC or tablet, but did watch the first couple of episodes of 1883.