ABC has announced air dates for new shows like the anticipated Shonda Rhimes program, “The Catch,” as well as the dates on which hit shows such as “Once Upon a Time” will come back after their winter hiatuses.
Network shows often debut in the fall and take a brief break around the holidays before returning sometime in the beginning of the new year. Some wait longer than that, however – ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” for example, won’t be coming back until March.
ABC’s new show, “The Catch,” which is produced by Rhimes of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” and centers on a woman who works in fraud detection who herself is fooled, will premiere on March 24. The family comedy “The Real O’Neals,” which is produced by columnist Dan Savage, will officially premiere on March 8 but will debut as part of a preview for viewers the week before on March 2.
The biblical series, “Of Kings and Prophets,” will debut on March 8, as well. The political drama, “The Family,” will air as a sneak peek for viewers on March 3, then officially debut on March 6.
Meanwhile, the fantasy musical series, “Galavant,” will debut its second season on Jan. 3. The second season of the superhero show, “Marvel’s Agent Carter,” will bow on Jan. 5. The second season of the anthology series, “American Crime,” will debut on Jan. 6.
As for reality shows, a new program, “My Diet Is Better Than Yours,” will debut on Jan. 7. The show, “Beyond the Tank,” will debut a new season on Jan. 7 and the newest season of “The Bachelor” will debut on Jan. 4.
Shows that have already aired episodes this fall and will return in February are “The Muppets” and “Fresh Off the Boat,” which will both come back on Feb. 2, and the Rhimes lineup (“Grey’s,” “Scandal,” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” all of which are created or produced by Rhimes), which will air new episodes, beginning Feb. 11.
“Once Upon a Time” will begin airing new episodes on March 6, as will the show “Quantico.”
“S.H.I.E.L.D.” will return for new episodes on March 8 and the music drama “Nashville” will be back on March 16.
This schedule allows ABC to promote some of its shows that are premiering episodes for the first time in 2016, rather than having debuted this past fall. “Galavant,” for example, will be airing during the time “Once Upon a Time” usually airs. Both are fantasy shows, so ABC is no doubt hoping viewers who like “Once,” already a proven hit, will stick around for “Galavant,” giving more support to the comparatively junior show.
How is ABC doing in general? One of the biggest stars in ABC's lineup is Rhimes, who is behind the network’s top-rated shows. In addition, the network seems to be succeeding at airing content for multiple demographics. Family shows such as “Once Upon a Time” and “Modern Family” are proven hits and other programs for a wide range of ages like “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat” have also performed well.
Of course, strong performers from other networks mean better competition. Fox’s “Empire” was the highest-rated scripted program in the valued 18 to 49 demographic last year, with CBS’s comedy, “The Big Bang Theory,” behind it. ABC’s “Modern Family” came in behind those programs. But ABC's “Scandal” also appeared on the list of the 10 top-rated programs among 18 to 49-year-olds with “Modern,” which is good.
CBS’s heavy hitters like “NCIS” and “Theory” dominated in the season ratings for total viewers, with ABC ranking far lower on the total viewers list with its show, "Dancing With the Stars."