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Fox Comedy ‘Ben & Kate’ Pulled, Network Scales Back Tuesday Comedy Block

By | Wednesday January 23, 2013 @ 12:01pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

It’s the end of the road for Fox‘s freshman comedy Ben And Kate, at least for the foreseeable future. Like with The Mob Doctor, Fox is not saying that the comedy has been cancelled, just pulled from the schedule indefinitely, which basically means cancelled. The series is currently filming Episode 15 of its 19-episode order, which it will complete. After a long ratings struggle, Fox also is ending the two-hour Tuesday comedy block, at least for now. On March 12, reality staple Hell’s Kitchen will take over the Tuesday 8 PM hour, leading to New Girl and The Mindy Project. The network brass hope the move will give the two comedies a boost the way Glee helped New Girl and Raising Hope last season. Read More »

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Ratings Rat Race: ‘Mindy’ Rebounds, ‘Apt. 23′, ‘NCIS’ Set Lows; ‘Hart Of Dixie’ Hits High

Nellie Andreeva

The networks’ Tuesday lineups returned to normal after Election Night coverage last week. Probably no one is welcoming the return to normalcy more than Fox, whose Tuesday comedy block was also impacted by baseball and other per-emptions. The network brass must be breathing a sigh of relief as freshman The Mindy Project (1.7/4 in adults 18-49) last night went up 13% from the series low posted by its last original two weeks ago. That was the only airing of the show for the past four weeks. Compared with its past two outings before the preemtion-filled last month, Mindy Project was down 11%, a smaller drop than the 19% one Fox’s New Girl suffered last fall returning from a four-week hiatus — which the then-freshman could never make up. New Girl (2.2/6) and fellow returning Fox comedy Raising Hope (1.6/5) were both down a tenth from two weeks ago. But newbie Ben And Kate (1.1/3) took a 21% plunge to a new series low.

Ben And Kate was in a three-way tie for last place among all programs on the Big 4 networks last night, along with ABC’s sophomore Don’t Trust The B— In Apt. 23 (1.1/3, down 8%) and veteran Private Practice (1.1/3, down 21%), both hitting series lows. While Private Practice‘s fate has been determined and it is simply playing out its final batch of episodes, the dismal rating for Apt. 23 is alarming as the series only has a 13-episode order. Its lead-in, Happy Endings (1.4/4) was flat with two weeks ago. With a double-elimination episode, Dancing With the Stars results (1.9/5) was up 6%. Read More »

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John Quaintance & David Feeney Named Co-Showrunners Of Fox’s ‘Ben And Kate’

By | Friday November 9, 2012 @ 9:00am PST
Nellie Andreeva

John Quaintance and David Feeney have been elevated to executive producers and co-showrunners on Fox‘s freshman comedy Ben And Kate. They will co-run the series with a creator/executive producer Dana Fox. They succeed Garrett Donovan and Neil Goldman, who departed over a month ago. Gail Lerner, who came on board following Donovan and Goldman’s exit to lend senior-level support several days a week, is staying on. Read More »

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FRESHMAN SERIES REPORT: Who Got Back Orders, Who Got Scripts, Who Got The Ax?

By | Tuesday October 23, 2012 @ 2:14pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

CBS this morning was the latest broadcast network to weigh in on freshman series back orders, giving full-season pickups to dramas Elementary and Vegas. The first wave of episodic orders typically goes to the strongest ratings performers, with the next echelon getting additional script orders while the networks decide whether to keep them around. This is the case again this fall with one notable exception: Fox’s modestly rated new comedy Ben And Kate, the only new series with a back order to get fewer than nine episodes (six), as its pickup was more of a statement by Fox that it is committed to nurturing its fledgling Tuesday comedy block than a testament to the show’s strength. The full-season 22-episode orders to date went to the six highest-rated new series among adults 18-49: NBC’s Revolution (4.3/11 in most current ratings*), CBS’ Elementary (3.5/10), NBC’s Go On (2.9/8), CBS’ Vegas (2.7/8), Fox’s The Mindy Project (2.6/7) and NBC’s The New Normal (2.5/7). Ben And Kate (1.8) is six slots down, below ABC’s Nashville (2.4), ABC’s Last Resort (2.3), ABC’s 666 Park Ave, CBS’ Partners (2.3) and ABC’s The Neighbors (2.1). The CW’s sole pickup so far, Arrow, is the network’s highest-rated series this fall with a 1.3 in 18-49. (Note: Full Freshman Series Status Report chart after the story.) Interestingly, the only freshman show to get a larger-than-22-episode pickup this season was not the highest-rated (Revolution), but Mindy Project, for reasons in the vein of those for Ben And Kate‘s back order. (Fox also is pre-empting Mindy for three of the current four weeks, so the extra order served as a vote of confidence to the Mindy Kaling series.) I hear there are discussions for an extra episode of Arrow, which would push the order to 23.


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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Ben And Kate’ Drops, ‘Hart Of Dixie’ Up, ‘Emily Owens’ Debut Soft

By | Wednesday October 17, 2012 @ 9:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

There was an hour of entertainment programming last night, followed by coverage of the second Presidential debate. (Although, with its testiness, the debate did rival such reality staples as the Real Wives franchise in bickering and fighting.) Reliable ratings for the debate won’t be available until later today (check Deadline for updates), but judging by the fast nationals, it seems to have drawn overall audience/demos on par with the first debate, with NBC leading coverage by a wider margin this time due to its big lead-in from The Voice.

The Voice (4.6/13 in adults 18-49) was up two tenths from its fast national last week, leading NBC to another Tuesday demo victory. ABC’s Dancing With The Stars results (2.1/6) matched its fast national last week despite moving from 9 PM to 8 PM to accommodate the debate. Fox’s Raising Hope (1.7/5) was down one tenth but freshman Ben And Kate (1.2/3) stumbled, down 20%. Read More »

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Fox Gives Back Orders To New Comedies ‘The Mindy Project’ & ‘Ben And Kate’

By | Monday October 8, 2012 @ 11:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Fox brass have said they would be patient with the network’s new Tuesday comedy block, and they are proving it today with back orders to modestly-rated freshman series The Mindy Project and Ben And Kate. Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project, which has higher ratings as it follows anchor New Girl, has been given a full-season order with a back-nine-episode pickup. In its second outing, the workplace comedy, which gets a sizable DVR bump, logged a 1.9 adults 18-49 rating in Live+same day.

Dana Fox’s Ben And Kate has received a six-episode back order. It most recently posted a 1.6 demo rating at 8:30 PM. Fox has new comedy The Goodwin Games on tap for midseason, which was part of the reason for Ben And Kate‘s six-episode order. The comedy recently underwent a showrunner change, with executive producers Garrett Donovan and Neil Goldman leaving. Gail Lerner has since come on board to land senior-level support several days a week.  “Ben And Kate and The Mindy Project have everything we want to stand for in comedy: smart writing, hugely appealing casts and comedy that feels contemporary and real – which is why we’re confident they will continue to build on what is already an appointment comedy night for young, influential audiences on Tuesdays,” Fox chairman Kevin Reilly said. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Raising Hope’ Down In Season Premiere, ‘Hart Of Dixie’ On Par

By | Wednesday October 3, 2012 @ 10:40am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

It may be the DVR effect, impact of cable or the Internet, but it is kind of depressing seeing a whopping seven programs on the Big 4 broadcast networks post a 1 rating among adults 18-49 on Night 10 of the new season when viewer excitement is supposed to be still high.

Fox’s all-comedy Tuesday block continues to struggle. The addition of Raising Hope as 8 PM anchor didn’t help as the comedy opened its third season with a 1.7/5 among adults 18-49. That was down 45% from the series’ second season premiere behind New Girl last fall. It was also down 19% from Raising Hope‘s debut in the Tuesday 8 PM slot last spring when Fox tried out a two-hour comedy block. New Fox comedies, Ben And Kate (1.6/5) and The Mindy Project (1.9/5) both crumbled in Week 2, down 24% and 21%, respectively, from their modest premieres. The big dropoff for critical darling The Mindy Project is especially concerning as the show followed New Girl. In one of the brighter spots on last night’s ratings report, New Girl (2.8/7) matched its season premiere rating from last week, avoiding the proverbial “second-week slump.” Ben And Kate‘s dropoff mirrored that of its lead-in (down 25% from last week when Fox aired a new New Girl at 8 PM.) Read More »

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Oscar Winner Nat Faxon In Balance On ‘Ben And Kate’: TCA

By | Monday July 23, 2012 @ 1:24pm PDT

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.

Ben And Kate Nat FaxonIt isn’t every TCA session that features an Oscar-winning screenwriter on the panel promoting the new comedy series he’s starring in. But that’s where Nat Faxon found himself this morning, doing his best to draw attention to the forthcoming single-camera Fox comedy Ben And Kate on which his character helps his sister raise his niece. Of course, the first question out of the box was, essentially, what a guy who won an Academy Award this year for adapted screenplay for The Descendants (shared with writing partner Jim Rash and Alexander Payne) was doing slumming it as an actor on a sitcom? “I literally got this (role) the day after I won the Oscar,” Faxon admitted. TCA Ben And Kate“I don’t necessarily think I’m going to be handed acting roles because of something I did in the writing field.” Interjected Ben And Kate creator-showrunner Dana Fox: “Let me clarify. We locked (Faxon) in before he had a chance to realize he’d made a huge mistake.” And what’s it like having an Oscar-winning scribe starring in your show? He was asked if he ever stops by the writers room with his Oscar and asks if they’d like help. “Every single day, I’m like, is there anything you’d like to change?” Fox says, “and Nat is just like, ‘Oh no, you did a great job.’ I’ve asked him to just show up with his Oscar one day but he won’t do it.” Read More »

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Fox To Preview New Comedies ‘Ben & Kate’, ‘The Mindy Project’ Online Ahead Of Debut

By | Monday July 23, 2012 @ 9:09am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Mindy Project FoxIn what has become a TV industry standard, Fox will preview new comedy series Ben And Kate and The Mindy Project in advance of their fall primetime debuts. The previews will be on Facebook and other online sites — including Yahoo, Hulu, AOL, MSN, and Xfinity — and via participating cable, satellite and telco distribution partners on both VOD and online platforms from August 27 to September 9. The series premiere September 25. Last year, Fox successfully previewed New Girl on iTunes, VOD, airplanes and Hulu and in hotels for two weeks, resulting in big premiere numbers for the comedy starring Zooey Deschanel.

Related: ANALYSIS: Behind ‘New Girl’s Surprisingly Big Opening And The iTunes Experiment

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Two New Comedy Series Land Showrunners

By | Monday May 14, 2012 @ 6:22pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

20th Century Fox TV is finalizing deals with Everybody Loves Raymond veteran Mike Royce to serve as showrunner on another family comedy, NBC’s midseason single-camera half-hour 1600 Penn, and with Community executive producers Garrett Donovan and Neil Goldman for the same duty on Fox’s fall single-camera comedy Ben and Kate. The gigs stem from Royce and Donovan & Goldman’s overall deals with the studio. Both pilots were written by scribes with no TV series writing experience. 1600 Penn was co-written by actor Josh Gad and former White House speechwriter Jon Lovett, with input from director Jason Winer; Ben & Kate was written by feature writer Dana Fox. Royce recently worked on a single-camera comedy project for 20th TV, the Fox pilot Little Brother.

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