The end of last week brought news that ABC has cancelled both 666 Park Avenue and Last Resort. Or perhaps a better term is that ABC has opted not to continue either show for a full season. Both 666 Park Avenue and Last Resort will continue to air their initial 13 episode order, but ABC is not ordering any additional episodes.
Both 666 Park Avenue and Last Resort are one hour drama series, so now ABC has two one hour gaps to fill on their programming schedule. While ABC has not officially announced what shows will take the place of the two series, it certainly brings up an interesting possibility for the new S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series.
While no official start date has been announced for the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, most have been expecting it to premiere in Fall 2013. However, with ABC to soon have two open slots on its schedule, could we potentially see the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series sooner rather than later?
Joss Whedon is under exclusive contract with Disney, so there are no other project from other networks or studios pulling him away. In fact, with The Avengers 2 looming in 2015, it might even make sense for the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series to be put on the fast track if Disney wants Joss Whedon to write and direct the pilot episode.
While the most likely scenario is that ABC will plug in two of the mid-season replacement shows they already have ready into the two time slots, the S.H.I.E.L.D. series could always be a possibility. It’s unlikely that ABC would want to put S.H.I.E.L.D. into the 10 PM ET slot held by 666 Park Avenue on Sunday, because S.H.I.E.L.D. has the potential to attract both young and old viewers, so a late time slot could be limiting the audience.
The most interesting scenario could be if ABC decides to plug S.H.I.E.L.D. into the Thursday 8 PM ET time slot held by Last Resort. That time slot has been dominated by the CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory, but S.H.I.E.L.D. will also appeal to the comic books fans who watch The Big Bang Theory. It would be interesting to see what would happen if those two shows went head to head, and it could be ABC’s only shot at ever overthrowing the CBS comedy juggernaut.
Even if ABC decides to plug in a temporary fix for those two shows, their failure probably pushes ABC even faster in the direction of developing properties like S.H.I.E.L.D., which seems to be a solid bet given the success of The Avengers movie. In the end, the failure of brand new dramas that have to build an audience from scratch will likely have ABC executives thinking it might make more sense to develop TV series based around Disney's Marvel and Star Wars properties, where they would bring in an existing following from day one.