How important is Marvel's 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' to ABC?

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Marvel's upcoming "S.H.I.E.L.D." is nothing short of the most important project ABC is currently working on. The network needs the show as soon as possible and needs it to be a smash hit that will keep men tuning in to the channel, or ABC will lose the faith of advertisers.

What ABC needs right now

ABC has not had a hit show for males in the 18 to 35 bracket since "Lost," and the only way those men have been attracted to the network in recent years is by sports coverage. When the show went off the air in 2010, ABC lost a tap to one of the most important demographics on TV, since it will draw the expensive automotive, electronics, and alcoholic beverage advertisers. "S.H.I.E.L.D." has the opportunity of bringing the demographic back to the network.

Current failures

The new version of "The Incredible Hulk" was supposed to be the big project between Marvel and ABC, but it's in a holding pattern due to the lack of a wanted writer. The sexuality of "666 Park Avenue" was pushed as a contrast to the sensuality of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Castle," but could not drive the masses to viewership. "Last Resort" was supposed to appeal to the needed demographic but has failed to make a mark on the ratings reports. It will probably be a matter of weeks before The Drake closes and the submarine sinks.

Comic book market

TV shows based on comic books are the rising star of the entertainment industry. "The Walking Dead" continues to break cable ratings records and "Arrow" is reminding people that The CW exists. Dozens of other comic book-based shows are in the works and will likely come out in the next few years. Since ABC and Marvel are both owned by Disney, there is no reason why the two holdings should not be leading the way with a smash TV show based on the printed picture pages.

Faith

If Marvel and ABC are not able to make a major mark with "S.H.I.E.L.D.," the network will run the risk of losing the faith of advertisers. Companies want to spend their advertising dollars on shows that will give them the best chance for a strong return on investment. If ABC cannot begin to deliver on the 18-35 male demographic, those dollars will go elsewhere, and the network will have to consider cutting budgets or slowing production on other products.

More from this contributor:

If 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' falters, Marvel crashes

Why ABC and Marvel are rushing 'S.H.I.E.L.D.'

Ups and downs: 'The Incredible Hulk' waiting on a writer

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