Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Romantically Challenged vs. Surviving Suburbia

A lot of people seem to think Romantically Challenged is renewal-bound, perhaps most notably including Renew/Cancel at TVBTN.

Here's how the show looks compared to one of last year's ABC midseason sitcoms, Surviving Suburbia, which also aired at 9:30/8:30c out of Dancing with the Stars on Monday.

4/6/09 DWTS 4.6, SS 3.0
4/13/09 DWTS 4.6, SS 2.6
4/20/09 DWTS 4.7, SS 2.4
4/27/09 DWTS 4.3, SS 2.2

4/19/10 DWTS 4.8, RC 2.9
4/26/10 DWTS 4.4, RC 2.6
5/3/10 DWTS 4.1, RC 2.4

The first four are the four data points that ABC had on Surviving Suburbia when they went into the upfront and basically pocket vetoed the show, refusing a renewal until it had aired in the summer. In the summer, it bombed and was never heard from again.

The next three are the only three data points ABC will have on Romantically Challenged heading into the upfront, as episode four airs the night before the upfront and probably won't be a hugely deciding factor at that very late hour. First three weeks look extremely similar, with the only "good" news really being that lead-in Dancing with the Stars took a dive in the last couple weeks. Competition is, at best for Romantically, a wash. RC has faced the biggest sitcom on TV, but it's always been repeats. Suburbia had to kick around original Rules of Engagement, which was usually slightly stronger than the Big Bang repeats, but not by much. And ABC didn't have ownership in either show, so that's a wash.

So the deal is that a Romantically Challenged renewal will basically require ABC to renew the same show they axed (OK, "didn't renew") at this time last year. I'm not saying it's out of the question, but to say it's a shoo-in seems ridiculous. What factors would flip the script in RC's favor? I'm honestly not sure. Stay tuned.

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