A slew of ABC comedies are continuing into the new year with expanded episode counts. The sophomore season of “Fresh Off the Boat” will feature an extra episode, making 23 total, as will the upcoming seasons of “Speechless”, “The Middle” and “American Housewife”. Breakout “Black-ish” and “The Goldbergs” upped their episode counts to 24 from 22. ABC’s focus on its latest class of comedies is evident in its programming beyond these future plans; the two-hour Wednesday comedy block received a Tuesday night counterpart.
Amidst a crop of floundering dramas (“Quantico”, “Notorious”), these comedies, especially the ones starring families of color, are ABC’s greatest recent stab at cultural relevance. Pumping up Golden Globe nominated “Black-ish” makes total sense; the encroaching Presidential administration and political climate are at least insurance for ABC that their golden goose won’t fade anytime soon. Whether this holds true for other budding successful comedies has yet to be seen.