ABC’s Freshman Sitcom Surpasses ‘Modern Family’ in Network Ratings

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ABC’s newest freshman sitcom Abbott Elementary has been a massive hit, and even surpassed Modern Family in network ratings. According to Deadline, the show’s second episode, on Jan. 4, garnered “9.0 million total viewers and 2.93 rating in adults 18-49 after 35 days of viewing across linear and digital platforms.” The outlet points out that among viewers 18-49, this was the strongest comedy broadcast of any new, or returning series, that ABC has seen in almost two years, since the Modern Family series finale on April 8, 2020.

Abbott Elementary stars Quinta Brunson (iZombie, A Black Lady Sketch Show) as Janine Teagues, a teacher in an inner-city public school facing the day-to-day perils of molding young minds. Notably, Brunson also writes and executive produces the show. The series also stars Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris), Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha), Lisa Ann Walter (The Parent Trap 1998), and Chris Perfetti (Looking). A synopsis of the series from ABC reads: “In this workplace comedy, a group of dedicated, passionate teachers—and a slightly tone-deaf principal—are brought together in a Philadelphia public school where, despite the odds stacked against them, they are determined to help their students succeed in life. Though these incredible educators may be outnumbered and underfunded, they love what they do — even if they don’t love the school district’s less-than-stellar attitude toward educating children.”

Recently, Brunson spoke with AV Club and was asked about the rapid popularity of Abbott Elementary, sayig that “it’s the dream” scenario for her. “Yeah, the typical thing for most sitcoms — except for maybe in the ’80s, which was golden years for sitcoms — a show usually airs for a couple of seasons, and then people get on the train. Then there’s a super fandom that comes in during seasons three or four. It’s happened for lots of shows recently, like with Schitt’s Creek. Even Ted Lasso wasn’t as popular ’til it totally finished airing its first season. But now, with Abbott Elementary, it’s been crazy that in our first three episodes we got this response. I’m overwhelmed and grateful, but I didn’t expect it.”

She continued, “It was smart of ABC to let the show go to Hulu the next day. It was smart to put the pilot out a month earlier, which gave people the opportunity to watch it over the holiday break. People were probably missing the feeling we get with sitcoms like Parks And Recreation, The Office, or even Superstore, which recently finished its strong run. Abbott plays in that similar space, and it came at the right time.” Hulu subscribers can check out the first nine episodes of Abbott Elementary anytime on the streaming service.