'The Bachelor' bumps 'Samantha Who?' off ABC

Jasonmesnick_240 Thanks to a certain single dad, you won't be seeing a certain single woman on ABC for a while longer.

The network has decided to keep airing two-hour episodes of  The Bachelor for the rest of its run this winter, thanks to fairly decent ratings for this cycle. That means that Samantha Who?, which had been scheduled to return to ABC's Monday lineup next week, is for the moment homeless. The network says an announcement about the show's future -- which despite this development seems fairly solid -- will come in the next few days.

ABC's decision is a ratings-driven one, thanks to some gravity-defying numbers for current Bachelor Jason Mesnick. ABC has touted the appeal of the single dad, who was the final rejectee on The Bachelorette last summer, and it appears the network is right.

The audience for the show has grown in each of the past three weeks, starting with 8.7 million viewers for the Jan. 5 premiere, improving to 9.06 million the following week and hitting 9.9 million on Monday (Jan. 19) while winning all the key female demographics. Monday's improvement is all the more impressive considering the stiffer competition the show faced this week, with FOX's new House-24 lineup and new episodes of CBS' comedies.

By comparison, the most recent edition of The Bachelor, starring Londoner Matt Grant, and The Bachelorette both averaged 7.9 million viewers over their runs.

Christinaapplegate_samanthawho_240 Samantha Who? had been doing reasonably well this year, averaging a little under 10 million viewers this week. But those numbers were mostly the result of airing after Dancing with the Stars; when it didn't have the reality hit as a lead-in, its audience dropped below 7 million viewers.

I have long since checked out of The Bachelor, but I understand ABC's decision from a business standpoint. Mondays from 8 to 10 p.m. may be the most competitive two hours in all of primetime now, so if I were running the network I wouldn't want to mess with a show that's growing week to week.

And if I were running the network, I think I'd have a way to get Samantha Who? back on the schedule sooner rather than later. It seems simple, and it's something I and more than a few of you have brought up in previous posts: Pair it with Scrubs on Tuesday nights.

The two shows have similar sensibilities and styles, and teaming them up would allow ABC to extend Scrubs' season further into the spring. If the network keeps running back-to-back episodes (as is currently the plan), the show's season will be over by March.

So why not, ABC? Putting these two shows on Tuesdays would create a pretty decent hour-long comedy block on the night, and could provide anchors for your new shows -- Better Off Ted, In the Motherhood and The Goode Family -- later this season. We look forward to your announcement (even if you don't take our advice).

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