The problems that WKBW-TV (Channel 7) are experiencing in its inability to significantly grow its news audience are varied, but there is no question that the lackluster performance of its network is one of them.
No station would be happier to see ABC create a hit in the 2017-18 season than Channel 7, especially if it came with a new 10 p.m. program to serve as a strong lead-in for its 11 p.m. newscast.
ABC's fall schedule announced late Tuesday showed it is aware of the issue. Three of its five new fall programs are airing at 10 p.m., one of which is co-created by a Western New Yorker.
The network canceled "Dr. Ken," "The Real O'Neals," "The Catch," "American Crime" and "Last Man Standing." The cancellation of "Last Man" "stunned" star Tim Allen and even received a crawl Tuesday from Fox News that was funnier than anything in the show.
ABC's release gloated about how many of its programs finished in the Top 20, but many are aging programs like "Grey's Anatomy," "Modern Family" and "Scandal" (which will be entering its seventh and final season).
ABC had a hit this season with the drama "Designated Survivor" and made some minor splashes with the comedies "Speechless" and "American Housewife."
But it desperately needs more and bigger hits.
How desperate? It is bringing back "Roseanne," which ended its run in 1997, with the original cast in midseason.
Since it doesn't have a prime time sports franchise like NBC (Sunday Night Football and Thursday Night Football), Fox (The World Series) and CBS (Thursday Night Football), it is no surprise that ABC is premiering two more series in the fall than NBC and Fox.
After all, it has more time slots to put them in. The number of new programs still is surprisingly small, an indication that the network realizes how difficult it is to promote too many new series at once.
However, it was surprising to see ABC move so many of its returning series, including sending "Shark Tank" to Sunday, "Once Upon a Time" to Friday and "black-ish" to Tuesday opposite the Fox comedy "The Mick" and "American Housewife" to Wednesday after "Modern Family."
Now let's take a look at the new fall shows with information from the ABC release:
"The Good Doctor," 10 p.m. Monday: "House" creator David Shore and actor Danel Dae Kim ("Lost," "Hawaii Five-O") are behind this series about an unorthodox surgeon. Played by Freddie Highmore ("Bates Motel"), he is autistic, has savant syndrome and his brilliance is greeted "with skepticism by his colleagues." Hill Harper and Richard Schiff ("The West Wing") co-star.
"The Mayor," 9:30 p.m. Tuesday: With obvious similarities to the 2016 presidential campaign, it is about a young rapper (played by Brandon Micheal Hall), who runs for mayor in a publicity stunt to get attention and advance his music career and somehow gets elected to a job he isn't qualified to hold. Lea Michele ("'Glee") is his chief of staff. The clips looked promising, though the reality in Washington, D.C. right now is much funnier.
"The Gospel of Kevin," 10 p.m. Tuesday: Co-created by WNY native Michele Fazekas and writing partner Tara Butters ("Reaper," "Resurrection," "Marvel's Agent Carter"), it stars Jason Ritter ("Parenthood") as a "clueless, self-serving" guy on a "downward spiral" who has a life-altering visit from an "unlikely celestial" who puts him on "a mission to save the world." Or ABC.
"Marvel's Inhumans," 9 p.m. Friday: Another Marvel series? This one based on the comic book series "explores the never-before-told epic adventure" of a royal family of Inhumans. The family escapes to Hawaii after it is "splintered by a military coup" in an attempt to save themselves and the Earth. A version of the first two episodes will have a two-week run on IMAX theaters starting Sept. 1 before the network premiere.
"Ten Days in the Valley," 10:00 p.m. Sunday: Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer') stars as an "overworked television producer" (are there any other kind?) "of a controversial police show whose life is turned upside down" when her daughter goes missing. The cast includes Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Erika Christensen, Josh Randall and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who all starred in TV hits.
ABC also announced Jimmy Kimmel will return as host of the Oscars in 2018 after his critically-acclaimed performance a few months ago.
The network also announced several mid-season series, including a legal series, "For the People," from producer Shonda Rhimes.
And, of course, there is "American Idol," with Katy Perry one of the judges. It is scheduled to premiere in 2018.
ABC executive Ben Sherwood also joked during the network presentation in New York City that the network was bringing back the 1962 hit "Ben Casey." At least I think he was kidding.
With "American Idol," "Will and Grace" (NBC) and "Roseanne" coming back after the recent return of Fox's "24," "Prison Break" and "The X-Files," there may be no end to the networks' decision to go back to the future.