Friday, September 23, 2011

First Two Weeks, Free Agents


Pre-premiere Wednesday saw the finale of America's Got Talent (which got a 3.6 A18-49 rating), then the surprisingly strong 10/9c debut of Up All Night (3.7). Then, in the last half-hour of the evening, things fell apart. Free Agents managed just a 2.1 demo, dropping a stout 43% from its Up All Night lead-in. Though a 2.1 demo doesn't look so bad on NBC these days, that was a discouraging start.

Like Up All Night, Free Agents took a huge drop in week two against full-fledged broadcast competition (including a series-high showing from incumbent comedy The Middle). However, a huge drop from Free Agents' weak start was much more troubling than a huge drop from Up All Night's great start. Free Agents managed just a 1.3 demo out of its 2.4 Up All Night lead-in. That's a 38% drop week-to-week, not to mention a 46% drop from the lead-in. It was Truly more like a 35% week-to-week drop, but that's still devastating.

The good news for me is that I at least beat the cancellation announcement (which didn't always happen last year)! Anyway, I'm predicting this show's going to be off the schedule within a few weeks. Gun to my head, I'd say its last airing is next week, though I could see it lingering a little longer. Yes, NBC is a disaster area pretty much across the schedule, but Free Agents is arguably the biggest offender. Veteran 30 Rock seems an obvious replacement that could keep their three hours of comedy intact. For sure: no extension, no season two.

"First Two Weeks" is my look at... the first two weeks of a new scripted broadcast show's ratings. I also line all of these numbers up to do an objective analysis in what I call "the system."

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