Thursday, October 10, 2013

First Two Weeks, The Michael J. Fox Show

NBC welcomed Michael J. Fox back to television on premiere Thursday, but only a relatively modest contingent of people were interested. It premiered to a disappointing 2.2 demo, though it nearly doubled its terrible lead-in from Parks and Recreation (1.3 overall, 1.2 at 8:30). The premiere edged Glee (2.0) for third place among the broadcasters at 9:00, but it was crushed by CBS' comedies (3.4) and ABC's Grey's Anatomy (3.4).

Week two brought a significant 23% drop to just a 1.7. The "good" news was that MJF remained easily the highest-demo option in NBC's Thursday lineup. It handily outrated the premieres of Welcome to the Family (1.1) and its lead-in Sean Saves the World (1.4).

Last year, NBC's great comedy hope Go On premiered in a cushy timeslot and eventually died after it was thrown to the wolves in the second half of the season and exposed as a fraud. I could actually see MJF being kind of a reverse-Go On; it's thrown to the wolves initially and then "rescued" later in the season. NBC's other Thursday premieres were so nightmarish that I actually think NBC may blow up the whole two-hour comedy block before the end of this season, perhaps giving Fox a whirl... maybe even on Tuesday, after The Voice in the spring? This show has demonstrated a clear advantage over its Thursday teammates, an advantage that may even widen since those teammates were series premieres last week. And NBC will be motivated to try something since 1) this has 22 episodes already ordered; and 2) sweeping comedy cancellations for two straight years would be really humiliating. So either NBC does something drastic and can point to Fox's "momentum" in a new situation with a broader lead-in, or they just let this night completely deteriorate and Fox looks like the diamond in the rough as it did last week. Either way, it's shown enough that I think it finds a way through the NBC mess. Renew.

"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.


Spot said...

If MJF can stay afloat until midseason, I think it's a lock for a post-Voice slot. If the About a Boy/Growing Up Fisher pairing actually launches behind the Voice come 2014, I'll eat my hat.

Spot said...

I think blowing the existing line-up is a good idea...but what replaces it? Does NBC try again with Parks & Recreation and its remaining midseason comedies (Community, Undateable, About a Boy, and Growing Up Fisher)? Will The Biggest Loser be a stop-gap in the Spring? Should NBC just go tri-drama? No matter what, MJF should get pulled from this morass and get some nurturing. My pet idea is to shrink The Voice to 90 minutes on Mondays and put MJF at 9:30, but NBC is so hard up for ratings points that it's difficult to see that happening.

Spot said...

I agree with you. It's hard to imagine, one way or the other, a scenario that doesn't end up in renewal. Still, it's not the saviour NBC was hoping for, it's just the least bad. I think they should give up on comedy at this point for next season but they won't do it. To be honest, I would revamp the schedule quite a bit after the Olympics... It's almost a new season for NBC promotion wise, they should take advantage of it. I would be really bold and use the blacklist to help another night since it appears to be on a roll and also because it would allow another show to get the post-voice. And I would simply use sundays as "friday dump night" since the real friday is actually a good night for them!

I would go with:
Mondays: The Voice/The Voice/ best out of Crisis/Believe
Tuesday: The Voice/ Chicago PD/ Chicago Fire
Wednesday: Revolution/ The Blacklist/ Law and Order SVU [or The Blacklist/SVU/Revolution]
Thursday: The Biggest Looser/ The Michael J.Fox Show/ About a Boy/ Parenthood
Friday: Dateline/ Grimm/ Crossing Lines
Sunday: America's Home Builders or whatever is called/ Community/ Parks and Recreation/ Worse out of Crisis/ Believe

Anyway, enough rambling. It's a renew.

Spot said...

They should at least contain it to one of the hours. The Biggest Looser should do better than the 1.2/1.1 that the 8pm hour got last week to say the least. Tri-drama could be something to consider next year, but I don't like it too much (I have yet to see a tri-drama block that works, the closes thing is CBS Tuesday this season so far but even that is debatable since POI is regarded as a let down) especially given the competition. For midseason I don't think they have the guns for that. Either TBL+1 hour of comedy+Parenthood or TBL+TBL+Parenthood.

Spot said...

Cancel. Michael J. Fox himself might pull the plug.

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