After spending several weeks stranded with a “Friday night death slot,” ABC has decided to give former hit show Ugly Betty a better time slot. Will it help or is the show still doomed to be cancelled?
Ugly Betty debuted in 2006 and follows young Betty Suarez (America Ferrera) as she navigates her way through the world of high-fashion, working at the trendy magazine Mode. Others in the cast include Eric Mabius, Tony Plana, Ana Ortiz, Becki Newton, Mark Indelicato, Michael Urie, Vanessa Williams, and Ashley Jensen.
The series was a modest hit for the 2006-07 season with a 3.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 11.3 million total viewers. The following year, the prized demo remained essentially the same (3.6) but dropped in viewers to 9.4 million.
For year three, Ugly Betty fell significantly, to a 2.8 rating in the demo and 8.0 million viewers. That slump would have likely placed the show “on the bubble” but the series was given an early renewal for season four. ABC Studios co-produces the series and a fourth season would ensure that there would be enough episodes for syndication.
Unfortunately for the show’s fans, year four has seen Ugly Betty stranded on Friday nights, a little-watched evening. Predictably, the dramady has continued to lose viewers. The two-hour season premiere attracted just a 1.4 rating in the demo and 5.07 million viewers. The numbers have fallen from there and, outside of Thanksgiving weekend, hit a season low of a 1.1 in the demo and 4.26 million viewers.
With the recent cancellation of Eastwick, ABC has now decided to move Ugly Betty to the Wednesday at 10pm timeslot. It’ll move there beginning January 6th. While this is certainly a better timeslot for the show, it seems unlikely to save the show.
Ugly Betty’s viewership had already dropped significantly last season and even more fans have abandoned it this fall. Some believe that the show is having a creative comeback but, once viewers stop watching a serial, they’re unlikely to return.
While syndication helped get the show renewed for season four, it’s unlikely to help this time around. Episodes of The Mentalist and NCIS: Los Angeles were sold for about $2.2 million each to TNT and USA, respectively. In contrast, episodes of Ugly Betty only brought “a low six figures” for each installment from the lower-profile TV Guide Network.
So, unless the ratings for Ugly Betty miraculously see a big increase in its new timeslot, the show is destined to be cancelled in the spring. Thankfully, for fans, ABC has given the writers a heads-up so that they can plan ahead and give the show some closure if that should happen.
What do you think? Should Ugly Betty end this season or continue? Is ABC’s move too little, too late? If the show should end, should Betty end up with — Gio, Daniel, Henry, Matt, or none of them?
Image courtesy ABC.