Kelsey Grammer and his sitcom Hank have not been having an easy time of it. While ABC’s other freshman sitcoms — The Middle, Modern Family, and Cougar Town — have all received additional episode orders, Hank has not. To add insult to injury, the comedy’s now being replaced by a 43-year-old rerun.
It’s that time of year again and ABC is pulling out its venerable animated special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Though we’ve all seen it before, the special tends to bring in very good numbers.
Last year, Charlie Brown attracted 10.43 million and a 3.4/9 in the demo. That was down from 2007 when it brought in 11.4 million and a 3.8/11 in the 18-49 demographic.
Of course, those numbers put Hank’s performance to shame so it makes sense to replace the sitcom on Wednesday, October 28th. With any luck, a significant percentage of people who tune in will stick around to sample the rest of ABC’s comedies.
While it might seem like a good strategy to boost the sitcoms’ audience, it’s really only a half-hearted attempt. The network is actually “double-dipping” with the Charlie Brown special. They’re airing a version of the special the night before as well. On Tuesday night, the network is pairing it with the less-popular You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown special to round out the hour.
Though this move makes sense for the network for the immediate future, it can only hurt Hank’s chances for survival. It’s interrupting the normal schedule and will presumably give extra exposure to all of the comedies but Hank, the one that needs it most.
ABC may not have totally given up on Hank yet but they’re not going out of their way to help it either. The way things are going, Hank may very well be replaced for November sweeps.
What do you think? Is Hank doomed already or could a different strategy help save it? Is it as bad as many people are saying?