Thursday, October 10, 2013
ABC premiered its latest post-The Middle newbie Back in the Game to a 2.2 demo, down a few tenths from its 2.5 The Middle lead-in. This was a slightly better number than anything The Neighbors or Suburgatory ever did in the 8:30 half-hour last season (though The Neighbors' series premiere was at 9:30, so that may not be totally fair). It faced off against a fairly underwhelming set of competition, from The X Factor (2.7 at 8:30) to Survivor (2.4) to Revolution (1.8).
In week two, Back in the Game dropped 14% to a 1.9 rating. The gap barely widened with its The Middle lead-in, which fell 8% to 2.3 in week two. This left it at about where The Neighbors rated for most of last fall.
This is the Mom pick all over again; modest premiere after an OK lead-in, and a normal or slightly less week two drop. So once again, it's pretty much a toss-up. In Mom's case, I said renewal because I saw its situation getting a little better once CBS cleaned things up on Monday. In Back in the Game's case, it's more about whether ABC will collapse on other frontiers - namely Tuesday and Super Fun Night. The Neighbors and Trophy Wife already look dead. The Goldbergs dropped into BitG territory this week with a much better lead-in (one that may still drop more)... and it's not like Goldbergs and BitG are mutually exclusive anyway. I'm fairly confident Back in the Game will at least get an episode extension and be in the conversation at season's end, so I'm gonna cross my fingers and say this ekes out a "slow but steady wins the race" Renew. If nothing else, it might be a decent option to take the post-Last Man Standing slot for a year while they get that show to syndication. I could see "The Tim Allen/James Caan Yelling Hour" being a better marketing angle than whatever they did to try to get people to watch The Neighbors on Friday.
"First Two Weeks" is an ongoing experiment to see how often a new scripted show's fate can be predicted by the very earliest data. Here are the picks and lineups for every show this season.