Don't Give Up On Better Off Ted Yet, ABC!

By Jason J. Hughes 2009-12-28 18:37:52 discussion comments
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I'm confused, ABC. First, you renewed Better Off Ted, despite disappointing ratings last season because you liked the creative energy and direction you were seeing. The show came back stronger than ever this year, but has continued to perform poorly. But rather than try to nurture it, you appear to be hanging it out to dry.

The revamped Scrubs was an experiment from the beginning. It was either going to work or it wasn't, and apparently it kind of isn't. At least if ratings are to be the judge -- I think the format has shown some signs of potential. But a hail may by a show nearly a decade old failing is no reason to punish a sophomore show creating quality comedy just because ABC decided to pair them together.

ABC is planning to double-air episodes of both shows throughout January to burn through both 13-episode commitments as quickly as possible, but I think this is unfair to Ted. Double-up Scrubs to fill out one hour, and start airing those one-hour recaps of each season of Lost to fill the other hour, leading up to its final season premiere, but don't punish Ted just yet. Maybe the show won't be able to find a following, but I think the network should at least give it a chance. And they have a night just begging for a fourth comedy.

ABC now has three solid half-hour comedies on Wednesday nights with no lead-in, after the crash-and-burn performance of Hank. What I would recommend is putting The Middle on at 8 PM ET, followed by Cougar Town. That keeps Modern Family at 9 PM ET, with Better Off Ted coming next and leading into the newly transplanted Ugly Betty. You get your three "family" sitcoms together in a solid block, without moving the lynchpin show Modern Family. And Ted, as a workplace ensemble comedy, bridges perfectly into the similarly-themed Ugly Betty.

DREAM WEDNESDAY (All Times ET)

8:00 PM - The Middle
8:30 PM - Cougar Town
9:00 PM - Modern Family
9:30 PM - Better Off Ted
10:00 PM - Ugly Betty

This would give ABC an absolutely solid three-hour block of quality programming on Wednesdays, and Ted a final chance to prove what it can do. If it can't find an audience after Modern Family and before Ugly Betty (which has shown signs of growth this season in its death-slot on Fridays), then it deserves to be canceled. I just think it's a bit premature to give up on it completely just yet.

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