Tuesday, June 25, 2013

War of 18-49 Flashback, Better Off Ted (ABC, 2009-10)


Scheduling history: Better Off Ted aired on Wednesday alongside NBC import Scrubs for its first run of episodes in spring 2009. ABC then renewed the show but unloaded the rest of the season one order during the summer of 2009, most of it after low-rated summer offering The Superstars. It returned to the pairing with Scrubs at the end of fall 2009, this time on Tuesday.

When there was hope: For a few years, Better Off Ted had the distinction of the lowest weeknight series premiere rating to eventually score a renewal. It began on 3/18/09 with a fairly measly 5.51 million viewers and 2.1 demo rating, though that held almost all of its similarly low Scrubs lead-in (2.2). Ted dropped to a 1.8 in week two, but it hung right around that 1.8 for most of the rest of the spring run. If ever a show was renewed because of decent "retention," Ted was it; comedy-starved ABC decided to bring back both parts of the Scrubs/Ted pairing, hoping the critical acclaim would lead to a bounce like the ones seen for similar shows The Office and 30 Rock.

When hope was lost: The aforementioned summer 2009 episodes of Ted were probably a pretty dumb idea, but it can't have been considered a good sign that most of those episodes went south of a 1.0 demo. (Those episodes contribute hugely to the deflation of the season one average, which was a 1.76 if you just count the regular season.) And even after reuniting with Scrubs several months later, Better Off Ted showed no signs of life. It premiered to a very weak 1.5 on 12/8/09 and only dropped from there, settling in the 1.0 to 1.1 vicinity. Since ABC came across Modern Family and friends that season, there was no reason for them to mess around with the Scrubs/Ted combo anymore, and Ted didn't even air its last two season two episodes.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12008-09Wed 8:30, Tue 9/9:301.310.62.1

22009-10Tue 9:30, Tue 8:301.12-14%0.81.5

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12008-09 43 flop0.73 20 70 70 27
22009-10 40 flop0.67 -9% 28 53 53 36

For more on The War of 18-49, my look at the history of primetime TV's veteran shows, see the Index.


Spot said...

0.92! Yikes, ABC must've been worse off than NBC comedy-wise. That's scary.

Spot said...

My thoughts exactly. 0.9 is really bad. MF really saved ABC's comedy

Spot said...

I'm going on memory saying this, but I think ABC basically limped along comedy-wise once Home Improvement and a Millionaire-juiced Dharma & Greg left the scene. They had flashes of promises in some shows (According to Jim, My Wife & Kids, 8 Simple Rules...) but the 'aughts were not kind to ABC's sitcoms.

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