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Sunday, April 3, 2011

FRESHMAN SCORECARD: April

It's a few days late but it's time once again for the Freshman Scorecard! As always, these are sorted by best to worst chance of survival.

ABC

Body of Proof - It's only had one episode but it had a real solid debut in the ratings and nothing else is doing anything. Basically, it's at the top of the list by default. ABC is making a wise move by giving it extra exposure after Desperate Housewives tonight. If ABC renews one freshman drama for next season, this would likely be it. But we'll have to see how episode 2 & 3 do this week.

Mr. Sunshine - Mr. Sunshine had a great debut but has fallen hard and fast. Part of it is due to some creative growing pains, part of it is due to competition with American Idol and often having a repeat Modern Family lead-in. Still, ABC might want to expand its comedy lineup and if it does, this might fit well with Cougar Town. ABC may give it one more chance. It seems to be finding its voice creatively but it seems much more like an NBC Thursday sitcom.

Better With You - Better With You was actually pulling better numbers than Mr. Sunshine's recent entries and often with a weaker lead-in but it appears ABC has soured somewhat on the show which has never gotten a lot of promotion. They have regularly preempted repeats of it for another repeat of The Middle which is never a good sign. The show also continues to be up and down creatively so it seems like a one season show.

Off the Map - One of ABC's many failing freshman dramas, Off the Map has been slightly better for ABC's 10pm Wednesday slot but not by much at all. A weak debut was followed by steady drops and its settling into very low numbers. If Body of Proof can remain solid, this show is probably a goner. If Proof falls apart, it stands a chance.

No Ordinary Family - The family superhero drama has been a victim of low ratings following lots of hype all season and the likely final nail in the coffin was the airing of an original episode on a Saturday night, which is usually reserved for burnoffs. It will have its season finale this week and it would be very surprising to ever see it again especially with the cast lining up pilots for next fall.

Detroit 1-8-7 - ABC's best new drama has unfortunately been the weakest performer among many weak performers. Its season (only 18 episodes) has already ended and its special Sunday night finale gave it a series low in total viewers. It has some critical support but there's no way it gets renewed for next season. ABC is really back to the drawing board when it comes to dramas.

Skating with the Stars/The Whole Truth/My Generation - All are long gone and mostly forgotten

CBS

Mike & Molly - It may not be getting as strong ratings without a new Two and a Half Men lead-in but its a lock for renewal especially considering CBS's comedy situation is getting more and more troubling. It will get a chance at 9pm next week so CBS can see if it can hold its own. If Men was still new, this show would probably still be peaking. It has become much more consistent creatively this spring.

Hawaii Five-0 - Another renewal lock, Hawaii Five-0 has been reliable but not extraordinary on Monday nights. Some have wondered how it would do if it was placed with the NCIS shows on Tuesday. While it's very compatible with those shows, its solid enough for Monday. When Castle isn't following Dancing with the Stars, it's a reliable timeslot winner.

Blue Bloods - Not as much a lock as the first two but an incredibly likely renewal. CBS has fixed its Friday 10pm problem with this show, why would they mess with it now? It will forever be ancient skewing but that works for this timeslot. It's sort of surprising these three shows haven't been given an early renewal yet.

Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior - Now we get to the shakier ground. This show can do well enough when it follows a new episode of its parent shows but unlike the CSI spinoffs or NCIS: Los Angeles, it doesn't seem to be finding its own reliable audience. Creatively and in the ratings, it seems like a weak stepbrother of the original show. Still, it's a crime drama franchise and CBS certainly loves those. If it gets renewed, it may come with some tweaks.

Mad Love - CBS's Monday sitcom has not been doing very well but it has also had the hard task of usually following a repeat of How I Met Your Mother and airing against The Bachelor and then Dancing with the Stars. Those aren't great ways to develop an audience. Still, its ratings are below the low-end of CBS Monday shows. Its on the fence for now which is too bad because, while formulaic, its somewhat funny thanks to its actors.

$#*! My Dad Says - The other freshman sitcom has had its season wrapped for over a month now and it seems like a very unlikely renewal. It may come down to either this or Mad Love getting a half season renewal and right now, Mad Love has the better chance even though $#*!'s ratings were actually not that bad. In fact, they were usually better than what Rules of Engagement is pulling now in the same slot. But like Better With You on ABC, CBS seems to have given up on this show.

The Defenders - Its Friday move wasn't a disaster but CBS has so many dramas and not even spots on the schedule that its pretty much a forgone conclusion that this will be gone. When shows like the CSI spinoffs are on the bubble, this is a goner.

Chaos - CBS's newest drama premiered on Friday to very weak numbers and will not be part of the discussion for drama renewals unless a miracle happens. It was below what both the cancelled Medium was getting and the likely-to-be-cancelled The Defenders was getting in the same slot earlier in the season.

Live to Dance - It doesn't seem to be officially cancelled but it basically is.

NBC

Harry's Law - NBC's freshman slate is remarkably weak when you look at it as a whole. This Kathy Bates drama though is probably a lock for renewal despite its weaker performances the last two weeks. It skews very old but on NBC, anything that can get over 8 million viewers is sure to be renewed. It had a very strong beginning but has been uneven creatively in recent weeks.

Law & Order: LA - Now known as Law & Order: LA rather than Law & Order: Los Angeles, NBC will give this show a relaunch next week and it seems to have a decent shot for renewal as the name brand gives it a built in audience plus NBC has so many holes to fill on the schedule. If it can get the numbers it was getting in the fall, it will be renewed.

Outsourced - Outsourced has been a victim of NBC's very weak three hour comedy block. With a lead-in from The Office in the fall, it had been doing mediocre numbers but its move to 10:30pm has doomed the show. Unless NBC takes into account the timeslot, it's not likely to return. It hasn't been a huge critical success like other shows on the night either which hurts its chances.

The Event - NBC's heavily hyped drama returned from a three month break to very weak numbers which pretty much seals its fate. Plus, the writers seem to be resigned to their fate as they reportedly resolved some of the story for the season finale. NBC will let this play out but a renewal is extremely unlikely at this point.

America's Next Great Restaurant - NBC's new reality show has been quietly tanking in its Sunday night. NBC will probably let this show ride it out but not renew it for future editions. They have lots of problems but they've got other, better performing unscripted material.

Perfect Couples/Chase/The Cape - All three are not officially cancelled but in all reality, they are. Perfect Couples will be pulled soon with episodes remaining, Chase has been off the schedule for a couple months, and The Cape was yanked with one episode left. They may get burned off at some point but they are done.

School Pride/Undercovers/Outlaw  - Long gone

FOX

Raising Hope - Already renewed and STILL the only freshman with this honor.

The Chicago Code - This is an interesting case as it has been a steady but unspectacular performer on Monday nights. Though it has been better than Lone Star and Lie to Me in the same timeslot, FOX doesn't have lots of openings on its schedule for next season. A half season renewal would not be shocking though.

Million Dollar Money Drop - We'll never see it on the fall schedule but I have a feeling it will return in the summer or in December as a fill-in.

Bob's Burgers - The new member to the animated block is also a weak performer so far. With all the other shows renewed in that block, it may be the odd one out or it may be held back for midseason. Right now, it's firmly on the bubble.

Traffic Light - FOX's newest sitcom has been tanking in the ratings to the point that it's below the numbers of the long-gone Running Wilde. There's no way it's coming back, why is it even still on the air?

Running Wilde/Lone Star - Long gone, but it would be great to see those remaining Lone Star episodes!

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Next month, we will be able to add Breaking In, Happy Endings, The Paul Reiser Show, and The Voice to the list. Plus, it will be near upfront time so we may know more about renewals by then!

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