Just a few months ago, we weren't even sure if ABC was going to recognize the hard work "Happy Endings" did to climb out of the ratings basement by offering it a renewal.
ABC did notice, and not only did it renew the Eliza Coupe comedy, but now it's giving it a big-time spot on its schedule.
The alphabet network released its fall schedule Tuesday, and with it, marks a move of "Happy Endings" from Wednesdays behind "Modern Family" to Tuesdays ... behind "Dancing With the Stars."
It is by far the best lead-in for "Happy Endings" yet, leading out from a reality competition results show that this year is averaging a 9.9 rating/15 share in Fast National overnight ratings from The Nielsen Co.
Apparently, ABC feels that the audience for "Happy Endings" hasn't finished growing yet, and that a higher-rated lead-in like "Dancing With the Stars" could be the final move needed to make the show a hit.
"Happy Endings" didn't always get this kind of respect. In the 2010-11 season, the show didn't even premiere until April. When it did, ABC quickly moved it to its Wednesday 10 p.m. slot, showing back-to-back episodes to fill an hour that experienced the collapse of both "The Whole Truth" and later "Off the Map."
With a struggling "Cougar Town" as well as itself as a lead-in, "Happy Endings" averaged a 2.9/4, making it second-to-last on ABC's schedule, and No. 85 overall.
Yet, ABC wasn't ready to let it go. The network renewed the show, and then moved it 30 minutes earlier as the lead-out to "Modern Family," a two-time Emmy-winning series that had experienced a nearly 11 percent audience growth this season.
"Happy Endings" thrived, averaging a 4.0/6 -- an audience increase of 37 percent (the best of any returning show this season) -- and moved up to No. 56 overall.
Can "Happy Endings" continue to grow? Or will the audience loss from what typically a high-rated show spell it's doom? That's what ABC wants to find out, and it will discover that this fall.
For Tuesdays, ABC is moving "Dancing With the Stars" back an hour to 8 p.m., and will follow it first with "Happy Endings" and then one of its sophomore comedies, "Don't Trust the B in Apt. 23." The network will end Tuesdays with "Private Practice," a slot formerly held by "Body of Proof." ABC actually tried out "Private Practice" in this slot beginning in April, and has averaged a 5.1/9 there in four episodes, compared to a 5.9/10 from "Body of Proof."
Where "Body of Proof" is going, no one knows yet. But when "Dancing" is on break, ABC will try out two new comedies in the 8 p.m. timeslot: "How to Live With Your Parents" and "The Family Tools."
The alien comedy "The Neighbors" will replace "Happy Endings" as the "Modern Family" lead-out on Wednesdays, with the new drama "Nashville" replacing "Revenge" on Wednesdays.
That's because "Revenge" is moving to Sundays, replacing "Desperate Housewives" as a lead-out from "Once Upon a Time." "Revenge" earned a 5.1/8 on Wednesdays compared to the 5.5/8 from "Desperate Housewives," so there is a possibility "Revenge" could get a sophomore ratings bump leading into "666 Park Avenue" at 10.
"Last Resort" with Scott Speedman and Robert Patrick will premiere on Thursdays at 8 p.m., taking over a timeslot that was originally intended for "Charlie's Angels," but then used for "Wipeout" and then later the short-lived "Missing."
"Shark Tank" will remain on Fridays, but in November, it will move to 9 p.m. as ABC decides to try out "Last Man Standing" and the new comedy "Malibu Country" beginning at 8 p.m. That will make for an interesting timeslot across the board since NBC has also moved two comedies -- "Community" and "Whitney" -- to the same slot, while Fox is going to air "Touch" and CBS is expected to stay with drama there as well.
The only night that is pretty much staying the same is Mondays, where ABC viewers get a helping of "Dancing With the Stars" followed by "Castle."
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