1:47pm PT by Michael O'Connell
ABC to Goose 'Nashville' With Back-to-Back 'Modern Family' Lead
ABC is clearly giving Nashville every advantage that it can. The network announced Friday that the freshman drama will premiere with an especially desirable lead-in next Wednesday, airing after back-to-back episodes of Modern Family.
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The Emmy winner and reigning scripted ratings champ -- the fourth season opened to a 5.5 adults rating and boasted 33 percent DVR growth after three days -- Modern Family will air two new originals on Oct. 10, one at the regularly-scheduled 9 p.m. slot and again at 9:30 p.m.
That second half hour has been a tricky one for the network, which had Happy Endings and Apt. 23 both build audiences in the slot before moving to Tuesdays and ABC chose to launch freshman comedy The Neighbors there this fall. ABC then backpedaled a bit after the initial scheduling announcement, swapping Neighbors with Suburgatory. (The latter's sophomore season opens at 9:30 the following Wednesday.)
Nashville, which stars Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere as dueling country stars, comes to the 10 p.m. hour after Revenge's recent move to Sunday. Initially thought of as a difficult launch pad for a soapy drama, Revenge opened to a 3.3 rating with adults 18-49 and averaged a competitive 2.9 adults rating over the course of the year.
The Nashville pilot is already streaming online.