Tuesday, April 29, 2014

First Two Weeks, Friends with Better Lives

After a disappointing 2.6 demo rating for a preview following the massive How I Met Your Mother finale (which had a 5.5 in the 8:30 half-hour), CBS' Friends with Better Lives held up OK in its first regularly-scheduled episode. It had a 1.8 rating, down 31% from the preview, but given the lead-in went down to a 2.3, it was a drop of just two tenths (or 11%) in True. Still, this was over 20% below the 2.3 from lead-in 2 Broke Girls, and it was the lowest-rated comedy on CBS Monday. It felt like a win compared to the seemingly massive rejection on preview night, but it was still not a great place to be.

The whole CBS lineup came down a bit in week two, and FWBL's drop did not stick out in the bigger picture. It was down just a tenth (or 6%), while surrounding comedies 2 Broke Girls (2.1) and Mike and Molly (1.9) each lost two. Still, it was the weak link among those three (and also finished behind the 9:30 repeat of The Big Bang Theory (1.9)).

I'll give FWBL credit; it's doing better than I expected after the preview, certainly better than previous meltdowns like Intelligence and Believe. Still, it doesn't look like FWBL has a serious case as one of the top six CBS comedies. But it may actually be the favorite as #7, ahead of The Crazy Ones and Bad Teacher.

So the real question here: will there be a returnee #7 next season? I'll elaborate on the Power Rankings going up shortly, but the main point is that having a returnee backup is a lot less essential with six returnees on the fall sked than it was with four last season. Bad development could swing it, but considering all these shows are a noticeable step below the top six, I say a seventh renewal is a below 50/50 proposition. Even if it is 50/50, and even if FWBL is the favorite within that tier, I don't think it's a 100% lock to be #7. That adds up to less than 50%, so 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.


Spot said...

Bad Teacher - Cancel, too.

I agree with returnee #7 next season being a below 50/50 proposition. Only I think it's exactly 0% (zero percent). CBS is done with their renewals, 6 veteran comedies + Moonves said there will be 2 comedy premieres in fall = 8 spots. They need backup, but those will be new shows. The key is, as usually, in episode count - The Crazy Ones is at 22, pretty low rated, episodes, and other two will have even less episodes in the bag. No one picks such as backups. If it was 44+ episodes, then it would be another story. Then CBS would weight it against development slate. But it isn't, it's 22- episodes, so good riddance.

Spot said...

I agree with cancel, but think it's a more marginal call. I think the likelihood of CBS renewing a seventh comedy is higher than 50/50, but it's 50/50 as to whether it's this show or Bad Teacher.

Spot said...

If that 1.9 holds today you may be wrong, but I hope you are right. It is barely edging out 2 Broke Girls in quality, which isn't hard. It isn't much worse than Two and a Half Men, but that kind of gets a pass for being 11 seasons old.

Spot said...

Week four says it could be a back up, the Rules of Engagement 2.0

But my opinion is cancel, CBS has 6 comedies + 2 new and The Big Bang Theory airing on two nights, which means something will replace it by november on mondays. So, one veteran will be a backup, not FWBL or Bad Teacher.

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