Cutting Station 19 for 9-1-1 Could Backfire on ABC

Television

You’re not alone if you’re still trying to process the news of Station 19’s demise.

Shocking renewal and cancellation decisions creep out of the woodwork when we least expect them (especially in the dark on a Friday night), but the revelation that Station 19 Season 7 would wrap up the firefighter drama was the last thing we expected.

It was poised to continue as a series set in the Grey’s Anatomy universe and its status as one of ABC’s most reliable performers.

Why did ABC Cancel Station 19?

There’s no telling what went into the decision, but banishing it to 10/9c. next year, giving 9-1-1 its regular slot seems to have been the death knell.

9-1-1 has been a strong performer for FOX on Mondays for six seasons, but the network switch and the change in nights might lead to too much confusion for the people accustomed to watching on FOX.

ABC would have been wiser in making the call to keep 9-1-1 on Mondays because this decision could backfire and harm both 9-1-1 and Station 19.

Station 19 Season 6 was ABC’s most-watched and highest-rated drama during the 2022-23 TV season.

Station 19 Season 7: Everything We Know

The series was ahead of the parent series Grey’s Anatomy in total viewers and demographics, but the mothership has always been a prominent performer in digital viewing.

There’s a high probability that, with multi-platform viewing factored in, Grey’s Anatomy pulled ahead of Station 19, but that still doesn’t signify the death knell for Station 19.

Station 19 has much less recognition internationally, which probably contributed to the decision because Disney’s current priority is streaming, as evidenced by the buyout of Comcast to merge Disney+ and Hulu.

With Disney+ being home to Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19, and even 9-1-1 internationally, the streaming numbers are far more crucial than they once were.

But that still doesn’t explain the decision to cut Station 19 short when the series was in its prime.

Much like Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19 has featured soapy storylines as all its characters navigate the trials and tribulations of trying to save lives.

It’s a tried and tested formula, but somehow, Station 19 has managed to overshadow Grey’s Anatomy in recent years.

Grey’s Anatomy has been throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, while Station 19 has featured far more engaging storylines and less cast turnover.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 20: Everything We Know

With the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes delaying the production of most broadcast shows, networks will have more shows than they need early next year.

ABC previously nixed The Good Doctor spinoff The Good Lawyer because of this.

The backdoor pilot had delivered solid ratings and good word-of-mouth and was widely considered a shoo-in for a pickup.

Had there been no changes in the network’s needs, it would have likely made it to the midseason schedule.

With the production of shows getting underway later than usual, we’re getting truncated seasons.

Due to this, studios reportedly wanted to film two seasons back-to-back of most shows to make production restarts worthwhile, which is likely why ABC has decided to end Station 19 now.

Moving the show to the 10/9c slot will come with reduced ratings, which execs will believe justifies their hasty decision.

Why is ABC Sacrificing Station 19 for 9-1-1?

But it’s painfully obvious the series is being used as a sacrificial lamb due to the inventory issues and the arrival of 9-1-1.

If 9-1-1 holds up as well as it did on FOX, the numbers in the advertiser-craved 18-49 demo would tower above Station 19… but that’s a big if.

The long wait between seasons and the aforementioned network and air date change could damage the star-studded first responders’ drama.

There is no telling how this will shake out, but we have to imagine ABC will be putting all of its promotional muscle behind 9-1-1 to promote the move from FOX.

That leaves a lower advertising budget for the network’s other offerings, but 9-1-1 on ABC will be deemed a big success story if the numbers are good.

9-1-1 Season 7: Everything We Know

If it pulls in numbers comparable to Station 19’s performance in the slot, that’s another story.

Expectations for 9-1-1 Have Never Been Higher

FOX canceled 9-1-1 due to its eye-popping budget that towered above other broadcast dramas. Cast salaries buoyed that budget, so there are higher expectations for this show than for Station 19.

It’s hard to put these two shows against each other because there’s probably a lot of crossover amongst both fanbases, but what else does ABC expect following such a controversial decision?

Ten episodes to end Station 19 — a show with a massive ensemble cast — doesn’t instill the hope that fans will get a satisfactory ending.

If you watch Station 19, you know we’ve had a rich tapestry of characters, including Maya and Carina.

There has been plenty of controversy surrounding how LGBTQ+ couples are portrayed on the small screen, with the “bury your gays” trope a distant memory here. 

Maya and Carina have plentiful fans because their relationship grows stronger by the episode.

There are many other characters that makeup Station 19, and all of the storylines come together very well.

If the show opts to ship several characters to Grey’s Anatomy, that would come at the expense of some of the long-running medical show’s cast members.

One thing’s for sure: Fans of Station 19 are not thrilled by the decision.

They’ve watched the show for years, invested in all of the characters and their unique arcs, and don’t believe the show should end so soon.

With the substantial numbers the show pulled last season, we agree with them.

Station 19 Fans Are Campaigning to Save the Grey’s Anatomy Spinoff

Fans are going one step further to secure the show’s future. All you have to do is look at social media to know how they’re taking this news, and rightly so.

There is a chance ABC might reverse the decision to end Station 19 if the fans are vocal enough, but it would probably only entertain that possibility if the TV ratings at 10/9c are very good.

All we can do is hope that ABC will correct its mistake with enough time to keep the show alive, but for now, it seems like this decision is final.

Do you feel like Station 19 has been sacrificed to prop 9-1-1 up?

Hit the comments.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.

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