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From Grey's Anatomy to Station 19: Assessing the State of Shondaland on ABC

When Shonda Rhimes introduced her landmark exclusivity cope with Netflix, which locks the uber-producer right into a multi-year contract to supply new collection and different tasks with the streaming big, we have been bullish in regards to the the way forward for Shondaland properties on ABC. So was ABC.

However that was again in August, earlier than a brand new season of TV had gotten underway and earlier than probably the final new reveals from the manufacturing shingle had their debuts on the community that gave Rhimes her begin. However now that For the Individuals and Station 19 have every premiered, the present state of Shondaland on ABC has us feeling barely much less assured about its future. Permit us to clarify.

Earlier than we get to the 2 new youngsters on the block, let’s check out the trio of TGIT staples who’ve come to outline the Shondaland model on the community. Clearly, with solely three episodes left to air earlier than its collection finale on April 19, Scandal has no place in any speak about the way forward for the model. So, whereas we thank the Gladiators for his or her seven seasons of service and might’t wait to see how Olivia Pope’s story wraps up, we’ll transfer on.

Naturally, there’s little or no purpose to imagine that Gray’s Anatomy followers have something to fret about. Whereas the long-running drama, presently in its 14th season, can not declare to be ABC’s highest-rated drama—that title now belongs to the autumn’s largest success story The Good PhysicianGray’s nonetheless delivers rankings wins for the community and can have a house there for so long as Rhimes and star Ellen Pomepo wish to proceed telling Meredith Gray’s story. 

As for  Get Away With Homicide? That is a distinct story. The authorized thriller starring Viola Davis simply wrapped up its fourth season, pulling in three.83 million complete viewers for the finale. Whereas that quantity is on par with its efficiency all season lengthy, it needs to be disappointing for a present that premiered to 14 million viewers and far fanfare. Every season of HTGAWM has seen its rankings decline when in comparison with the 12 months prior and the water cooler chatter surrounding it has appeared to comply with go well with. The large query right here appears to be how for much longer Davis will wish to proceed within the position of Annalise Keating. She continues to garner award season acclaim, incomes an Emmy nod for every of the primary three seasons (and a win for her first)—and that is one thing the community definitely locations worth in. However does it outweigh the diminishing returns within the rankings? We’re not so positive anymore. 

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Now, let’s flip our consideration to the pair of latest reveals who’ve made their debuts in current weeks. And let’s simply get the dangerous information out of the way in which: For the Individuals shouldn’t be the hit Tuesday night time collection ABC hoped for. The authorized drama, created by Scandal scribe Paul William Davies and starring Britt Robertson, had a slightly rocky street on its strategy to air, with Robertson and her co-star Jasmin Savoy Brown changing authentic leads Britne Oldford and Lyndon Smith, respectively, after the pilot was ordered to collection. Whereas that is not an unusual incidence within the TV business, manufacturing on the collection got here to a short lived halt after wrapping the second episode in order that future episodes may very well be re-tooled to suit the dynamic of its new leads.

And although critiques of the present have been form, when it lastly premiered on March 13 in its 10 p.m. timeslot, an evening and time that has been notoriously troublesome for the community to program, the numbers have been tender, to place it mildly. Solely three.22 million complete viewers tuned in, with the present incomes a zero.Eight ranking in the important thing grownup 18-49 demo. And week two was even worse, with a middling 2.69 million complete and zero.6 ranking. Whereas there are solely so many timeslots out there within the TGIT lineup and Station 19 was clearly the extra apparent match to comply with Gray’s, it is clear that airing outdoors of the programming block did For the Individuals no favors.

Although, as Station 19‘s early rankings for its collection premiere final night time point out, airing behind Gray’s Anatomy does not imply speedy success. Whereas the fireplace station-set spinoff, created by Gray’s scribe Stacy McKee and starring Jaina Lee Ortiz and Jason George, did not stumble as badly as For the Individuals did proper out of the gate, it did not precisely set the night time ablaze. Following a Gray’s lead-in of seven.5 million complete viewers and a 1.9 demo ranking, the two-hour premiere averaged 5.four million viewers and a 1.1 ranking. The premiere additionally did not finest its direct competitors on NBC, the similarly-themed Chicago Hearth, which narrowly edged out a victory with 6.Eight million viewers and a 1.2 ranking. 

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Whereas it is nonetheless early days for Station 19, these numbers have to return as a disappointment, particularly contemplating the direct connection to Gray’s and the promise of continued crossovers between the 2. (Nevertheless, in our extremely scientific post-premiere ballot, 42.2 p.c of E! Information readers voted they’d make the present a everlasting a part of their TGIT routine, whereas 39.7 p.c stated they wanted to see extra to determine and solely 18.1 p.c stated outright that it was a tough move. In order that’s one thing.)

This all leaves us questioning what Shondaland’s influence on the ABC line-up will even appear to be come this fall. Gray’s, after all, is a given, but when we’re being sincere, the whole lot else looks as if a little bit of a toss-up. It is extremely unlikely that ABC would outright cancel HTGAWM with out giving it some kind of send-off. You do not disrespect an actress of Davis’ caliber and her influence in your community like that. However we would not be shocked if its fifth season renewal got here with a caveat that it could even be its farewell season. As for For the Individuals and Station 19, it is definitely nonetheless a little bit too early to talk with any certainty, however until there is a drastic reversal of fortunes, the previous’s days appear numbered. Station 19‘s connection to Gray’s ought to work in its favor. Its premiere additionally improved on Scandal‘s numbers in the identical timeslot the week earlier, so until there’s an awesome many drama pilots that warrant collection orders within the subsequent few months, you may in all probability count on to see Andy Herrera following Meredith Gray but once more within the fall.

However with no different pilots presently in competition for the 2018-19 season from the manufacturing firm, and Rhimes’ cope with Netflix resulting from start bearing some fruit within the comparatively close to future, that is it. The state of Shondaland, and its continued presence on ABC, lies with these 4 reveals. And if this season has confirmed something, it is that not all of those reveals seem have the endurance essential to maintain Shondaland an elemental power within the community’s id.

For the Individuals airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m., whereas Gray’s Anatomy, Station 19 and Scandal air Thursdays from Eight-11 p.m., on ABC.

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