It would have been even harder if they only ran it during the daytime weekdays, where all shows are EXPECTED to be crap.
Of course, there were at least three female crewmembers on the submarine. They are allowed to serve on subs now, but how many actually do in reality?
What does that even mean? Nobody would make an expensive drama for daytime.
Having a few female sub members isn't magically going to turn a military show into a female-skewing show. ABC should never have greenlit this premise. On FOX, sure, it might have worked there. And FOX could use a big, bold show this year because their whole lineup is a snooze.
For another example of what I mean, look at Elementary
, which did well. People jumped all over it for stuff like a female Watson, but everything it was blasted for had a purpose behind it, namely, the CBS audience would like it. That kind of discipline is why CBS has been so successful.
The moral of the story is, networks have established audiences* and if they want their shows to succeed, they can't forget their core audience. The networks may have been interchangeable once, so that a show that would work on one would work on them all, but that is definitely not true anymore. Especially when they are shooting for an audience they don't have that is all watching something on a rival network at the same time.
A show's actual quality is beside the point. The quality that matters is: will this network's audience like it?
*Well except for NBC which is lucky to get anyone.