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Where ABC Still Strikes Gold(bergs)


Everybody's watching to see what ABC does in the aftermath of its Roseanne crisis. Will it bring back its canceled Roseanne reboot without Roseanne Barr but with the rest of the cast? Or will it find some other way to appeal to the heartland viewers that loved Roseanne?

One possible way out for ABC: Leverage a hit sitcom, The Goldbergs, that it already has in its line-up, along with the planned Goldbergs spin-off.

Roseanne may have gotten all the attention for its broad appeal to red state and blue state viewers, but The Goldbergs, which just wrapped its fifth season, is also doing that for ABC while also skewing young and female. A hour-long family-friendly comedy block made up of The Goldbergs and its spin-off could be ABC's not-so-secret weapon for the fall.

Related: Former Roseanne' Advertisers May Want to Check Out These Shows Next

First of all, people love the show

Looking at a sample of more than 15,000 Emotional Reactions (ERs) on Twitter, as analyzed by emotion measurement AI company Canvs, viewer feelings about The Goldbergs characters and plotlines skews heavily toward love and excitement. Perhaps the best news for ABC is the enthusiasm expressed about The Goldbergs spinoff, which the show teased with a special episode in January. The spinoff, dubbed Schooled for awhile but officially untitled for now, is slated for ABC's fall season.

Loyal audiences consume more

Data from, the TV measurement company with glass-level data from a panel of more than 8 million smart TVs and devices, shows that as the current season went along, so did the appetite for consuming new episodes:

Younger audience

ABC on the whole counts the 35-54 demo as its largest segment, with around 40% of viewers under age 40.

The bulk of its footprint for prime time programming, including Roseanne and Black-ish, is a carbon copy of that breakdown. The network's mornings shows and Jimmy Kimmel Live all have pie charts that look the same as the one above. This is, for all intents and purposes, ABC's demographic offering. Now, look below at demographic data for The Goldbergs; 60% of the audience is under age 44.

Young-mom audience

Overall, ABC does well in attracting female viewers 54% on average, with a big assist from Good Morning America, which skews 58% female. But not only is The Goldbergs stacking up younger audiences, they are predominantly female viewers (57%, more even than American Idol, which skews 53% female). For brands looking to reach young moms, The Goldbergs is a sweet spot.

The Goldbergs keeps viewers tuned into the ads

iSpot data shows that while shows including Good Morning America, The View, General Hospital, World News and Jimmy Kimmel Live have very good viewer retention rates compared to other programming on ABC, The Goldbergs is a particular standout. Viewers are more likely to interrupt their viewing (interruptions include changing the channel and bringing up the program guide) during the commercials on The Bachelor and Grey's Anatomy and even suspense-driven American Idol compared to The Goldbergs.

The Goldbergs may be about a family from Philly but it resonates everywhere, as shown in this viewer heatmap from Inscape (darker areas represent markets where The Goldbergs viewership is higher per capita with the baseline is normalized by population density).

Bonus buzz: The only real controversy for this show is when creator Adam F. Goldberg set off a Twitter storm over a Spaceballs reference. Which is hilarious.
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