A new promo for ABC’s Thursday night lineup which, this fall will include a drama not produced by Shonda Rhimes, has TV pundits arguing as to whether it’s too desperate.
To recap: It’s a promo. Reporters Who Cover Television are writing posts/columns/article/blogs boasting they got a scoop on the video (reminder: it’s an ad) or debating its lack of subtlety in promoting the temporary absence of a series in which these very subtle things have happened:
— A Washington fixer has carried on an affair with the President of the United States, which has led to interesting moments such as make-up sex in a closet during a baby christening (where was the Secret Service?) and other incidents too numerous to mention here.
— POTUS killed a Supreme Court justice with his bare hands.
— The daughter of a Texas energy company lobbyist/presidential candidate cut off her ear and faked her kidnapping.
— The First Lady isn’t sure if POTUS is the father of her firstborn child, because maybe it’s POTUS’s dad.
ABC has said Scandal star Kerry Washington’s pregnancy led to the decision to rest the show in the fall and return it in January. Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder will return to the network Thursday in the fall. But ABC has scheduled Piper Perabo’s new Notorious, based on the relationship between Mark Geragos and longtime Larry King producer Wendy Walker, for the Thursday 9 PM time slot in the fall.
With Notorious subbing for Scandal in the hammock 9 PM slot of ABC’s TGIT lineup, the network also has decided it won’t brand the night as TGIT in the fall. While the branding came from ABC Marketing, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey recently acknowledged it has become closely associated with Rhimes and Shondaland.
Presumably, Disney-owned ABC has focus-group testing telling them Shondaland, and particularly Scandal obsessives, will need some convincing about the new Shonda-free series.
“Okay, let’s talk ABC Thursday,” perky Voiceover Woman begins in the pitch. The promo acknowledges some viewers are “flipping out,” and she suggests they “relax,” noting Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder will be back on September 22.
“Granted, Scandal’s taking a little break,” Voiceover concedes, cautiously.
“The gladiators will return, we swear!” she promises. “But we can’t just run color bars in the meantime.”
Color bar appears.
“See? That sucks!” she argues, incontrovertibly.
“We searched for the perfect companion for the shows you love and found Notorious,” she reassures.
“Think of it as a delicious new slice of awesome for your Thursday night binge,” she adds, soothingly. She describes Notorious as: “When it comes to sensational headlines, his clients make them, her team breaks them. Together they’re working all the angles.”
“Get ready for a whole new season of notoriously juicy drama,” Voiceover concludes, which, yes, seems a little much – or perfect, for an ABC Thursday slate promo.