Station 19’s New Airtime Is Incredibly Unfair to Fans of the Show

ABC's cancellation of Station 19 has already angered fans, but now the show's primetime slot has been given to another procedural drama

Photo: James Clark | Disney

Station 19 fans are already unhappy with ABC’s decision to cancel the series after its seventh season, with many blaming the untimely end on the network’s acquisition of the canceled 911. Now, it seems, that ABC has only dug the knife in deeper by giving Station 19’s usual primetime 8 p.m. ET time slot to 911. 

Station 19 fans have already been active on social media, enlisting the #SaveStation19 tag to try and spread the word in the months since the show’s cancellation. But series showrunners Zoanne Clack and Peter Paige say that all fans can really do now is watch the show. “I’m not sure they can do much more than they’ve been doing,” Clack told Deadline. “Yes, the USA Today advertisements and the Billboards in Times Square,” Paige adds, “but they still need to watch.”

Which is easier said than done with the show’s new timeslot of 10 p.m. ET. This isn’t necessarily an issue with younger fans, but for older viewers, like my mom, who jokingly says she “turns into a pumpkin” if she doesn’t head to bed around that time, it’s not as easy to stay up late and tune in live.

Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy have been sister shows not just in characters and storylines, but in airtimes as well, for as long as I can remember. Granted, my memory isn’t what it used to be, but I’ll never forget that for years 8 p.m-10 p.m. ET on Thursday nights was spent with my mom watching these two shows back to back. I promise, this article isn’t just about how the new schedule puts a wrench in how I spend time with my mom. But if we’re struggling to watch Station 19 live like we used to because it’s two hours later on a weeknight, then other long-time fans likely are too.

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In the 8 p.m. ET time slot, 911 grew in viewership in its move to ABC, pulling in higher numbers than Station 19 in the same time slot with 4.93 million total viewers. In its new time slot, Station 19 hasn’t dipped too low yet, but its season premiere only hit 2.8 million, matching series lows in viewership.

With only 10 episodes in Station 19’s final season, it makes sense that ABC would put its shiny new acquisition in the primetime slot. But in doing so, they’re effectively leaving what has long been considered their number two drama behind Grey’s Anatomy out to die. Changing the airtime doesn’t just make it harder for Station 19 fans to watch live, as the showrunners have highly encouraged them to do, it also does nothing to assuage rumors and speculation regarding the show’s abrupt cancellation (in essence, that the show was essentially booted to make way for 911).

It’s a shame that all three procedurals – 911, Station 19, and Grey’s Anatomy – can’t all coexist on ABC. The popularity of Suits has made it clear that people are craving longer seasons and “case of the week” formats. On top of that, Station 19 has tackled heavy issues like police brutality, domestic violence, drug addiction, and childhood trauma all while featuring realistically complicated lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships among some of its lead cast members. Even though Station 19 isn’t the only first responder show on TV by any means, nor is it the only one to tackle these issues, it still stands out among the crowd and deserves a fighting chance.

Station 19 airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET.