ABC Gives Full-Season Orders to The Goldbergs, Trophy Wife

In-house comedy gets the nod over Back in the Game

ABC has tightened up its comedy lineup, giving full-season orders to freshman sitcoms The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife, ordering an additional four episodes of Super Fun Night and closing the books on Back in the Game.

The beneficiary of a Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. lead-in and a pricey fall marketing push, The Goldbergs seemed primed for a full-season order from the get-go. (That the show had achieved most-favored nation status was apparent at the network’s May upfront presentation; ABC entertainment group president Paul Lee screened an extended preview of The Goldbergs for buyers and was effusive in his praise for the pilot.)

Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, The Goldbergs is averaging 6.07 million viewers and a 2.0 rating in the adults 18-49 demo. After bowing Sept. 24 to 8.94 million viewers and a 3.1 in the dollar demo, The Goldbergs has settled into a groove in the Tuesday 9 p.m. slot, averaging 5.32 million viewers and a 1.7 in its most two recent airdates.

Leading out of The Goldbergs at 9:30 p.m., the sprawling family comedy Trophy Wife is delivering more modest numbers. Through six episodes, Trophy Wife is averaging 4.71 million viewers and a 1.5 in the demo.

The Wednesday night Rebel Wilson vehicle, Super Fun Night, is getting four more episodes, or five shy of a full-season commitment. Through its first five installments, Super Fun Night is delivering 6.36 million viewers and a 2.3 among the 18-49 set.

Super Fun Night enjoys the strongest lead-in on ABC’s schedule, drafting off of Modern Family in the 9:30 p.m. time slot. (Modern Family is ABC’s top-rated comedy, and TV’s No. 2 sitcom behind CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. Season-to-date, the veteran sitcom is averaging 10.9 million viewers and a 4.1 in the dollar demo.)

While Back in the Game effectively has been canceled, ABC will air all 13 of its contracted episodes. The Maggie Lawson-James Caan sitcom is actually out-delivering the other freshman sitcoms in total viewers, averaging 6.66 million per episode. And its demo average isn’t all that shabby; through six broadcasts, Game is drawing a 1.9 rating.

Unfortunately for Game fans, the show is produced by Twentieth Television, whereas the lower-rated Trophy Wife is an in-house production. That almost certainly gave Trophy Wife the edge, although it also happens to be one of the few genuinely funny comedies of the fall season.

Back in the Game joins the short-lived lottery drama Lucky 7 on the list of canceled ABC series. Meanwhile, the network’s two other new drama series are in dire straits, as the Sunday 10 p.m. entry Betrayal is averaging just 3.75 million viewers and a 1.0 in the demo, while the spinoff Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is drawing 4.91 million viewers and a disappointing 1.3 rating in its Thursday 8 p.m. slot.

Over the past few seasons, both time slots have given ABC fits. Sundays are a particularly harrowing night on which to launch a series, haunted as they are by the National Football League, ravenous ambulatory corpses and the premium cable shows Boardwalk Empire and Homeland. 

Should the network decide to terminate either drama, it has plenty of options for mid-season. Among the new one-hour shows ABC has in the hopper are Killer Women, The Black Box, Mind Games, Resurrection and the miniseries The Assets. 

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