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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

FRESHMAN SCORECARD: March

As with the beginning of every month, it's time for the Freshman Scorecard. As always, the series are ranked from best to worst chance of seeing a second season (by network).

ABC

Mr. Sunshine - The fact that Mr. Sunshine is at the top of this list shows just what a sorry state ABC's new shows are in this year. ABC has not launched one new hit and Sunshine is not one either but for now, it's doing well enough especially if ABC plans on expanding its comedy blocks next season. The Matthew Perry sitcom had a solid debut but has fallen hard in recent weeks. It will not air against American Idol this week for the first time since its debut so it has a chance to prove it can be competitive. Part of the problem is it feels so much more in sync with NBC's Thursday lineup than ABC's Wednesday lineup.

Better With You - Better With You seemed to be on the right side of the bubble throughout the fall and in the early winter but it has stumbled badly against American Idol and now seems to be hurting its chances. Just like Sunshine, expanded comedy on ABC will help its chances but it would be shocking if it kept its cushy timeslot next fall as it has sprung a leak being the bridge between The Middle and Modern Family.

Off the Map - ABC's dramas are in worse shape than their comedies. It might seem absolutely impossible that Off the Map will get renewed yet it probably has the best chance of any freshman drama on the alphabet network. The only possible reason for that is it hasn't bombed as badly on Wednesday night at 10pm as other shows have. But it is still bombing.

No Ordinary Family - The highly anticipated family drama has been a huge disappointment on Tuesday nights as it continues to sink lower. After steadying itself for a while, it has fallen off the deep end against Glee, NCIS, and even The Biggest Loser. There's no reason to believe it stands a chance for next season but stranger things have happened.

Detroit 1-8-7 - The freshman cop drama has been limping along in recent weeks and has gotten preempted many times including tonight. ABC will air the remaining three episodes including one on a Sunday night, but there's nothing to read into there. Sadly, the best new drama on TV doesn't seem to have even the slightest shot of returning at this point even though it has the most potential creatively.

Skating with the Stars/The Whole Truth/My Generation - I can't find any confirmation that Skating with the Stars is cancelled except for ABC chief Paul Lee explaining its failure which certainly seems to imply it won't be back. The Whole Truth and My Generation are long gone.

CBS

Mike & Molly - CBS's freshman comedy seems to be a lock for renewal. Even with all the turmoil surrounding its Two and a Half Men lead-in, its numbers have been solid and it was on a major upward trajectory before Men went into repeats. Even in repeats, its delivering solid numbers. CBS may not give early renewals, but if they do - this show will get one. And it's a good thing as it has really found its voice in the last two months after an uneven fall.

Hawaii Five-0 - Another near lock for renewal. Hawaii Five-0 hasn't lit the world on fire but it delivers a reliable demo win against formidable opponents on ABC and NBC. The only unfortunate side effect of this success is that we may see more remakes than usual. Networks need to realize that Hawaii is the exception when it comes to remakes, not the rule.

Blue Bloods - This freshman cop drama did not perform very well on a trial Wednesday run as it remained incredibly old-skewing, but it still seems to fit like a glove on Friday nights with great total viewer numbers for 10pm. Even with CBS having more dramas than it knows what to do with, this is a very likely renewal with a very likely return to the same timeslot.

Mad Love - CBS's new sitcom has only done ok in its Monday timeslot as it is below the numbers Rules of Engagement was getting in the same slot. Still, the best hope for Mad Love is that CBS feels the need to renew most of its comedies with the uncertainty surrounding Two and a Half Men. But it certainly hasn't lit the world on fire, creatively or in the ratings.

Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior - CBS's newest drama is only two weeks in but the trend is troubling. It had one of the best debuts of any new series but had one of the worst second week falls of any new show. This week will be a big test for the show. It seems likely that CBS will give it some time to develop with the name brand but CBS doesn't have a lot of holes in its schedule so more drops will not help.


$#*! My Dad Says - This show has already finished its first season to only mediocre ratings. Like Mad Love, it may stand a chance if CBS is nervous about its comedies but even that seems unlikely given the lack of promotion or attention from CBS and the very early end to the season.


The Defenders - Although its total viewer numbers on Friday night have been respectable, this show has no chance of renewal with so many dramas on CBS. Even if CBS expands to Saturday (which they should), The Defenders is the low man on the totem pole. On another network, it may stand a chance. On CBS, it's all but a certain cancellation.


Live to Dance - Not officially cancelled but there's no way its coming back after a very disappointing short January-February run. The only real big flop from CBS this year.

NBC

Harry's Law - Easily the best chance of renewal, Harry's Law has been old-skewing but has delivered solid total viewer numbers, especially by NBC's standards. It has also been a self-starter with a terrible lead-in. This seems to be a near lock for a second season and hopefully NBC will find a better companion for this promising drama.

Outsourced - For now, it's second on this list but it doesn't seem like it has a strong chance at all. It was performing ok in the fall after The Office but now regularly draws under 4 million viewers and a 2 in the demo in its new 10:30 slot. While nothing would probably do any better in that slot, it still seems a very unlikely renewal. Their best hope is maybe a half season renewal to plug any potential holes.

Law & Order: Los Angeles - A new episode has not been seen since December 1 and there is no return date set yet so it may be held until late spring/early summer. Its numbers suggested that it had a fighting chance for renewal in the fall and it may get a big promo push with its retooling that could allow it to draw strong enough numbers to warrant a renewal. But all of that is speculation and it's hard to assess its chances when it hasn't been seen in three months.

The Event - The Event hasn't been seen since November but its returning this coming Monday. NBC is giving it another promotional push (though nowhere near as much as last fall's promotion). It should be able to improve on The Cape but not by much and NBC really needs to clean house with these underperforming dramas. It still has a chance, but not a big one.

Perfect Couples - NBC's newest addition to the Thursday sitcom block has been a huge bomb and the only surprise is that it hasn't been pulled yet. It has been the weakest link on a weak overall night and it doesn't even have the critical acclaim of the surrounding shows. Basically, it's done.

The Cape - NBC's superhero series ended its season last night and a second season seems next to impossible. It managed to do even worse than The Event in the Monday night slot with (often) less competition. There may not be confirmation until May but we all know The Cape will not be back.

Chase - Not officially cancelled but on hiatus with no planned return = unofficially cancelled. Too bad because this show was getting better.

School Pride/Undercovers/Outlaw - School Pride still isn't officially cancelled but in all reality, it is. Undercovers and Outlaw are long gone.

FOX

Raising Hope - Already renewed despite so-so ratings.

The Chicago Code - FOX's new cop drama debuted to decent ratings but then dropped heavily in its second week. Since then, however, it has steadied itself and climbed slightly so it may stand a chance. As of right now, it is outperforming previous timeslot occupants Lone Star and Lie to Me, which bodes well for its future. A half season renewal would not be surprising.

Million Dollar Money Drop - It doesn't have any more scheduled episodes for now but it would not be surprising to see it return as filler.

Bob's Burgers - The newest member of the animation block is on shaky ground especially with all the other shows (including American Dad!) renewed through at least next season and some beyond that. It hasn't been a great bridge between The Simpsons and Family Guy and seems to be a toss up at best right now. If FOX likes the animated shows in development, its chances drop even more.

Traffic Light - FOX's newest sitcom has been a bust on Tuesday nights so far with a debut lower than Running Wilde and further drops beyond that. It has steadied itself but at very low numbers and FOX already has a lot of slots filled for next fall. They'll try again to pair Raising Hope with a compatible comedy after two failed attempts this season.

Running Wilde/Lone Star - Cancelled long ago.

By the time the April Scorecard rolls around, we may have more renewals or cancellations plus the additions of America's Next Great Restaurant and Body of Proof to the list.

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