Happy Endings, Suburgatory, Cougar Town, Mr. Sunshine, Super Fun Night — these are all ABC comedies that have died from the Modern Family curse on Wednesday nights at 9:30 p.m.
Has the curse been lifted, though? Will Modern Family, one of the top-rated shows on television since its 2009 debut, be shedding its black widow status? And even more important, might ABC's bet on diversity in its new offerings help lift the network out of its fourth-place ratings trough?
Maybe! And possibly! While one night of ratings offers only a preliminary glimpse, Black-ish, the Anthony Anderson-led sitcom about an upper-middle-class black family in Los Angeles, did very well in its Wednesday debut. In the 9 p.m. slot, the Season 6 premiere of Modern Family drew a 3.7/11 among 18- to 49- year-olds (the demographic advertisers generally value the most) and 10.9 total viewers. Then Black-ish drew a 3.3/10 and an audience of 10.8 million. That's a retention of 89% and 99%, respectively, which, according to ABC, is the best a Modern Family lead-out has done pretty much ever. Since the Emmy award-winning comedy is in its sixth season, and its ratings have certainly eroded — its premiere was down 10% from last season — ABC would love for Black-ish to continue on this path. As BuzzFeed News' Anita Badejo reported early Thursday, black Twitter users certainly seemed to like the show.
Thursday nights on ABC, the great Shondaland experiment in which Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and the new drama How to Get Away With Murder (created by Peter Nowalk, and executive produced by Shonda Rhimes) comprise the network's three-hour block, will mark another important landmark in the representation of actors of color on television. Its first test is Sept. 25.