Why Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Big Schedule Shift Is Happening, According To ABC

agents of shield season 4

ABC kept fans of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in limbo for a while, wondering if the show would be renewed for a fifth season. Luckily, we finally got the renewal news last week, and we now know that Season 5 will take the action away from Tuesdays for the first time. The series is moving to Fridays, which at first didn't seem to bode especially well for its future. After all, Fridays are sometimes known as where underperforming shows are sent to die. According to ABC Chief Channing Dungey, however, there's a much more positive reason for the shift, saying this:

We've turned Friday into more of a destination for our fantasy and science fiction fans. Once Upon a Time and S.H.I.E.L.D. are airing on the same night for the first time, which is giving many fans of both shows what they've been asking for for a long time. When we were looking at the schedule, it's interesting how much pressure we've had from fans to put those shows closer together on the schedule for quite some time. We like the idea of Fridays being a destination.

As it turns out, ABC simply wants to lump its fantastical series together on one night rather than continue to split them up on different nights. S.H.I.E.L.D. will be pulled from its 10 p.m. Tuesday night time slot and air in the 9 p.m. Friday night time slot. Once Upon a Time (which has just gone through some major cast changes) will occupy the 8 p.m. time slot, moving from its place on Sundays. Unfortunately for fans who hope to see Coulson and Co. in action on Fridays this fall, we'll have to wait a little longer for Season 5. Channing Dungey's explanation (via EW) of the switch is good news insofar as it's not because ABC wants to be rid of S.H.I.E.L.D., but she didn't reveal exactly when the show would premiere.

ABC has officially released its schedule for fall 2017, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't on it. Instead, Marvel's new Inhumans series has been paired with Once Upon a Time on Friday nights. S.H.I.E.L.D. will debut either later in the fall or possibly be held until midseason, although it did score the regular 22-episode order for Season 5. We'll still get a full season; it just won't be as soon as ABC kicks off its fall lineup.

It should be interesting to see how Inhumans fares on Friday nights compared to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Once Upon a Time. Neither S.H.I.E.L.D. nor Once Upon a Time were exactly breaking ratings records in their 2016-2017 time slots, and they probably won't do much better on Fridays, but they do have an established fan base. Viewers may be inclined to follow those two established shows to Fridays, whereas some may not want to devote an hour of their Friday nights to a brand new series. ABC may have doomed Inhumans with the Friday night slot.

That said, I'm optimistic about S.H.I.E.L.D.'s big move to Fridays. As much as I liked getting to see it earlier in the week, the schedule shift could mean that ratings won't be as big of a deal. Expectations for Friday night ratings are lower than they are for Tuesday nights, and S.H.I.E.L.D. might be able to coast for a while. Who knows? Some series really blossom in unlikely time slots. Maybe Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could be the next Grimm.

The Season 4 finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV news, and don't forget to check out our summer TV premiere schedule to discover all your viewing options now and in the coming weeks. Be sure to drop by our rundowns for cable/streaming and broadcast TV renewals and cancellations as well. Our TV season finale schedule can give you all you need to know about your shows ending.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).