Thursday, April 10, 2014

First Two Weeks, Surviving Jack

Fox tried the new family comedy Surviving Jack with what for many years would have been a stellar lead-in: the American Idol results show. Unfortunately for Jack, it caught Idol on a very steep downturn, and the show's first 30-minute results show scored just a 1.9 demo rating. Surviving Jack dropped significantly from there, premiering to an underwhelming 5.15 million viewers and 1.3 demo rating. The show had no comedy competition, but there were a couple pretty stout competitors in ABC's Grey's Anatomy (2.6) and CBS' NCAA basketball (3.0 at 9:30).

Surviving Jack actually held up relatively well in week two, dropping just a tenth (or 8%) to a 1.2 rating. Idol was down yet another two ticks to a 1.7, so Jack had improved retention. The volume of competition technically went down because CBS traded out basketball for competing comedy The Crazy Ones (1.7), so it was down more (12%) in the True formula.

At least for now, this is shaping up as another Mixology situation: a bad premiere rating that holds up well. In these cases, the bad premiere rating is usually more important than the good hold. Still, compare Jack to the 18-49 ratings of the Tuesday comedies and it actually looks like it could be a bubble show. But its low 18-49 skew suggests it almost certainly lacks the extreme adults 18-34 appeal that appears to be a heavy motivating factor in those shows' renewals. Fox doesn't need yet another returning show at these weak 18-49 levels, and that's not even accounting for the possibility that it could continue to drop. Cancel.

See also: the week three update for The 100.

"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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