Due to the pair of strikes ongoing in Hollywood, ABC is adding Monday Night Football to its primetime schedule all season.
Per Variety, an extra ten Monday Night Football games will be simulcast on ABC this season due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. ABC is in need of more content to fill out its schedule for the fall, and MNF, previously scheduled for just one simulcast from Weeks 4-13 of the season, easily fits the bill.
Variety reports this is a one season deal, and much of ABC’s other programming is being shifted to other days to make room for MNF on the schedule.
The football stratagem is seen as a one-time-only maneuver made due to extraordinary circumstances. ABC, like its rivals, will have fewer scripted originals this fall due to the strikes and live sports have proven, perhaps, to be the one format still able to lure an attractive, large audience all watching content simultaneously — a dynamic still craved by advertisers and distributors.
ABC has already recalibrated most of its fall schedule, largely to accomodate a handful of “MNF” simulcasts that were already planned. On Mondays, “DWTS” was to have been paired with “The Golden Bachelor,” while Celebrity Jeopardy” and “Bachelor in Paradise” were originally slated to air back-to-back on Tuesdays. Now, “The Golden Bachelor” and “Bachelor in Paradise” will air on Thursdays starting Sept. 28.
The added games take place in Weeks 4-10, 12, 13, and 15. ABC was already scheduled to simulcast the Week 11 Super Bowl rematch between the Eagles and Chiefs, and Weeks 3 and 14 will feature a doubleheader with one game airing on ESPN and one airing on ABC. Week 16’s Christmas Day game between the Ravens and 49ers was already scheduled to air on ABC, and the single Week 17 game, both Week 18 games, and both playoff games will air on both ESPN and ABC.
After record-shattering viewership in Week 1, which was simulcast on ESPN and ABC and also had a ManningCast on ESPN2, the NFL and Disney are probably thrilled with the opportunity to simulcast MNF all season and bring in larger audiences.