Thursday, October 24, 2013
ABC's spin-off of Once Upon a Time provided the latest disappointing premiere number in ABC's long-problematic Thursday 8/7c hour, managing just 5.82 million viewers and a 1.7 demo. That was just a tick ahead of the prior week's ABC occupant, a Scandal recap special, and it finished in third place for the hour behind CBS' comedy block (5.1/3.0) and Fox's The X Factor (2.0). And it was well below the low 2's level that most of ABC's previous failed premieres have managed here.
If there was any hope after the premiere, it was completely dashed in week two as Once Upon a Time in Wonderland tanked by 29% to a pathetic 1.2. It remained ahead of NBC's awful comedy block (1.3/0.9), but it actually dipped behind the CW's The Vampire Diaries (1.3), which is kind of the ultimate insult for a big four original.
I thought the show would do better than this, but I did wonder prior to the premiere if ABC would've been better off just calling it Wonderland and not bothering to attach the Once Upon a Time label. The story of Alice in Wonderland brings with it enough of a built-in audience, and Once Upon a Time is a weakening brand. We'll never know, but what we do know is that a big chunk of the opening audience has already bailed, which likely would've happened either way. If it can hang close to this number, it would likely air all 13 episodes. But it's already below what seems like the network's bubble level, so it's unlikely to get more than that. Cancel.
"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.