Nellie Andreeva

This is probably the biggest vote of confidence ever bestowed on a freshman show that had just posted a 1.4 rating in adults 18-49: Fox has given a Back 9 order to its comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine and picked the Andy Samberg-Andre Braugher starrer to air alongside New Girl after the network’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2. “It’s exciting to see that both critics and fans love Brooklyn Nine-Nine as much as we do,” said Fox Entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly. “With Andy and Andre out in front of this incredible ensemble, it feels like this show is going to be around for a long time.”

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Fox announced New Girl for the post-Super Bowl slot at the May upfront, noting that it would be joined by another comedy series. But then the network’s Tuesday comedy block premiered last month to meager ratings, with neither of its new comedies — the heavily promoted Brooklyn Nine-Nine or Dads – breaking out and New Girl and The Mindy Project both depressed in their return. New Girl is still strong with a massive DVR bump, but picking a companion looked like a toss-up. Reilly, never known to make decisions based on what is in the best financial interest of corporate sibling 20th Century Fox TV (Terra Nova cancellation anyone?), picked the noisier, better reviewed Brooklyn Nine-Nine, produced by Universal TV, over the 20th TV-produced Dads, which has not been well received but draws similar ratings. Fox previously did it with another Uni TV show, top drama House, which drew a respectable 29 million viewers after the 2008 Super Bowl. CBS, for example, never does this, going with owned newbie Elementary last season instead of deserving blockbuster The Big Bang Theory, hit How I Met Your Mother or then-rising Person of Interest.

Meanwhile, rookie drama Sleepy Hollow, from 20th TV, launched way bigger than any other new Fox series this fall, prompting the question whether the network would modify its post-Super Bowl plans to go with a special episode of the spooky series. (That proved difficult because of the pre-sold New Girl upfront advertising.) As for Dads, no back order yet, thought it has received a pickup for additional scripts, believed to be 6. Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s full-season 22-episode order includes the post-Super Bowl one. Through five telecasts, the series from Uni TV, 3 Arts and Fremulon is averaging a 2.1 among Adults 18-49 with 4.9 million total viewers, according to Nielsen’s most current data. The comedy, created by Dan Goor and Michael Schur, is doing well with upscale viewers ($100K), logging the third-highest concentration of such viewers for a new series this fall.

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