Thursday, October 10, 2013
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.