What we know about these two pickups is that they represent the network’s typical strategy of staying the course when it comes to some of their traditional fare. With The Kids Are Alright, this show was designed from the get-go to be a natural compliment to The Conners, a family comedy that feels like an old-school sitcom about growing up and life in the 1970’s. It has a really great cast led by Mary McCormack as well as Michael Cudlitz, and with a back nine order it’s going to be guaranteed the opportunity to tell 22 stories this season. That gives it a chance to prove that it can be the next The Goldbergs, though we’re not quite sure anything can be.
The Kids Are Alright has performed … alright in the ratings so far. It’s capitalized decently on having The Conners as a lead-in, though not so significantly that we think that there is a 100% chance it will find a way to get a season 2 pickup come May. The biggest obstacle that it has is that there’s no real mechanism for headlines with this show. Where does it get them? How can it make people pay attention other than by sparking some controversy that it really wouldn’t want? It has to come either via a guest star or by taking on some controversial subject that may potentially alienate some of its own base. It’s in a tough spot in the event that it wants to build more of a following for itself beyond just the events of this fall. They need to get people taking about it!
As for Splitting Up Together, the Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson comedy is being picked up for an additional five episodes — bringing its sophomore run in total to 18. We actually think that this show has more long-term potential if ABC can just figure out the right way to promote it. With Fischer and Hudson playing a divorced couple trying still to co-parent there remains this intense will-they-or-won’t-they story in the midst of the laughter. There’s also a comedic dream-team behind the scenes here including executive producer Ellen DeGeneres and also Emily Kapnek of Suburgatory, one of those great comedies that viewers somehow let fall off the air far too early. The ratings for Splitting Up Together haven’t been on par with The Kids Are Alright, but how can anyone be shocked by that? ABC isn’t exactly shocked that a show not following The Conners is generating different total viewers.
Both Splitting Up Together and The Kids Are Alright will return to the air on Tuesday; they each took a break for the midterm elections (much like the rest of the TV landscape), otherwise known as the anti-family comedy since it tends to cause arguments rather than laughter.
What do you think about these two shows getting this full-season pickup? Be sure to share in the attached comments. (Photo: ABC.)