Friday, February 7, 2014

First Two Weeks, Rake

Fox's new legal drama Rake began very disappointingly, opening with just 6.95 million viewers and a 1.7 demo. That was exactly half of its lead-in American Idol's full rating (3.4), and less than half of what it averaged at 8:30 (3.6). And it came against very little competition; CBS averaged about a 2.0 with repeat sitcoms, ABC was barely above 1.0 with The Taste, and NBC's now-pulled family sitcoms were well below 1.0. This was surely an easy cancellation-caliber performance given the ease of the timeslot (although, LOL, here's another take on it); its only hope was to at least maintain this raw number against the influx of competition. Based on how shows tend to perform in the post-premiere weeks, that would be a miracle.

The miracle didn't happen. Rake was down 24% to a 1.3 in week two, now retaining less than 40% of Idol's 8:30 number (3.4). There was a bit more competition from NBC's Saturday Night Live special (1.8), but still nothing that would remotely excuse this kind of showing.

Easy Cancel. The real discussion here is to what degree Fox shakes up its sked after the Olympics. The announced spring schedule basically threw a bunch of shows under the bus in order to prop up Glee and Rake. This was a shaky proposition at best even before Rake premiered, and now it's downright foolish. I see there being two major options here: 1) plug in something like Hell's Kitchen at 9/8c and continue with the plan to air Surviving Jack after a 30-minute Idol results show; or 2) expand Idol results back to an hour and put a Surviving Jack/something-else comedy hour at 9/8c.

"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.

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