The CW hasn’t been able to successfully launch a reality series in its six-year history. (Long-running hit America’s Next Top Model originated on UPN.) That is not going to change after the premiere of the network’s latest unscripted effort, fashion docu series Remodeled, which opened last night with miniscule 707,000 viewers and 0.3/1 among adults 18-49 to rank as the CW’s lowest-rated series premiere ever. That was well below the CW’s two most recent reality series, the short-lived H8R, which opened with 1.3 million viewers and a 0.6 18-49 rating in September, and Shedding For The Wedding (1.2 million, 0.5). In Remodeled‘s defense, the other two series had America’s Next Top Model as lead-in, while it followed a new 90210, which returned from a five-week hiatus with 1.3 million viewers and a 0.6/2 in 18-49, down 25% in the demo from its last original. Still, the CW put a lot of muscle behind the reality series starring modeling industry veteran Paul Fisher, scheduling multiple runs of its first two episodes. In fact, the network delayed the return of freshman drama Ringer by three weeks to launch Remodeled in its Tuesday 9 PM slot. After a similar pre-emption of New Girl by Fox to accommodate new reality series The X Factor, the freshman comedy never regained the ratings strength it once had. We will see what the impact will be on Ringer.
Good news for Last Man Standing — the freshman ABC comedy has received an order for 2 extra episodes, bringing the total for the show’s first season to 24 episodes. While not a breakout hit of the size of CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and Fox’s New Girl, the multi-camera sitcom starring veteran Tim Allen has been a solid performer and was able to open a second comedy night for ABC on Tuesdays. In its most recent airing, Last Man Standing drew a 2.1/6 among adults 18-49 and 7.6 million viewers in Live+Same Day.
Tim Allen is indeed TV’s last man standing this fall. Allen’s Last Man Standing series, which has received a full-season pickup, is the only one of the three new fall comedies centered on guys to still be on the air after ABC today pulled its companion Man Up!. Effective next Tuesday, the network will air reruns of Last Man Standing in the 8:30 PM slot just like NBC runs repeats of Up All Night at 8:30 PM on Wednesdays following the cancellation of Free Agents. Today’s move by ABC, which comes on the heels of Man Up! posting another series low on Tuesday, only hastens the exit of the comedy, which had already been canceled after the network opted not to order additional episodes beyond the original 13-episode order and left the series off its midseason schedule. It is reminiscent of the early pullout of the other new “guy” series, CBS’ How To Be A Gentleman. Both Gentleman and Man Up! were created by actors (David Hornsby and Chris Moynihan, respectively) as starring vehicles for themselves. Eight episode of Man Up! have aired. It is unclear when the remaining five will run as a burnoff.
Last Man Standing creator Jack Burditt is leaving the freshman ABC comedy series. Veteran comedy showrunner Kevin Abbott is expected to take over the reins of the show after Thanksgiving if he gets a sign-off from TV Land, where he is under contract. For 20th Century Fox TV, which produces Last Man Standing, Abbott was the top choice to replace Burditt as he successfully stepped in for the departing creator of another 20th TV comedy, Reba, several years ago. Coincidentally, Abbott is now writing a new comedy project starring Reba McEntire, which has a put pilot commitment at ABC. If it goes to series and Last Man Standing is renewed for a second season, Abbott will run both series concurrently. In addition to shepherding the McEntire-starring project Malibu Country, Abbott also has a deal with TV Land, where serves as a consulting producer on Retired At 35. He is now in the process of getting out of his contract at the cable network to join Last Man Standing. Burditt, on whose life Last Man Standing is based, suffered a family tragedy earlier this fall. He took an extended leave of absence, and when he eventually returned on the show, he felt he couldn’t stay on for the long haul.
ABC Gives Full-Season Orders To ‘Once Upon A Time’, ‘Last Man Standing’ & ‘Happy Endings’; 5 Scripts For ‘Pan Am’
ABC just gave full-season orders to three more series: freshmen Once Upon A Time and Last Man Standing and sophomore Happy Endings, which previously received a pickup of six additional scripts. Additionally, struggling new drama Pan Am is staying alive with an order for five additional scripts. The back-nine order for Once Upon A Time comes after only two airings as the fairytale-themed series quickly established itself as the breakout new drama series this season. Once Upon A Time and the Tim Allen-starring Last Man Standing join previously picked up Suburgatory and Revenge to bring the number of ABC freshman shows given a full season to four, more than any other network so far this season. For Happy Endings, the episodic order comes after solid showings the last two weeks, including hitting a series high. As for ABC’s other sophomore series with a 13-episode order, drama Body Of Proof, there are five episodes in the can leftover from last season, so the network already has 18 episodes on tap for this season. (Though, at least for now, it doesn’t look like the extra two scripts ordered last month will be converted into episodes.) The script order for Pan Am buys the network some time as it’s awaiting to see new showrunner Steve Maeda’s vision for the series.
Tim Allen proved his drawing power last night when his new sitcom, ABC’s Last Man Standing, opened with an excellent 3.5/10 in adults 18-49 and 13 million viewers overall at 8 PM against baseball and CBS’ juggernaut NCIS. Last Man Standing eclipsed Suburgatory as the highest-rated new comedy series on ABC this fall, and Allen did it all by himself, with no help from a lead-in, to give ABC the much needed anchor for opening a new comedy night. This was the most watched 8 PM comedy premiere in 7 years and the highest-rated in 18-49 in 5. The hourlong Last Man Standing was up 9% in the demo from the premiere of drama No Ordinary Family in the slot last fall and posted ABC’s highest 18-49 rating in the 8 PM hour in 2 years. The comedy boosted the Dancing With The Stars result show (3.2/8, 16.6 million) to a season high, up 10% in the demo from last week. But the gains didn’t carry over to the 10 PM hour where Body Of Proof (1.9/5) was down 2 tenths from last week’s fast national.
CBS’s NCIS (3.9/11, 18.9 million) was down two tenths in the demo but still rock solid and, with Fox’s New Girl preempted for baseball, the veteran drama won the night in both 18-49 and total viewers. NCIS: LA (3.3/8, 15.4 million) and rookie Unforgettable (2.3/8, 11.8 million) was down a tenth each from their fast …
It turns out Modern Family was the Robin that signaled the comedy spring at the broadcast networks. Two years after the Emmy-winning ABC series became the first out-of-the-gate big comedy hit in years, the genre’s comeback is complete, while dramas appear headed for a down cycle. Here are the facts:
Four new series have been given full-season orders so far this fall — all of them comedies: Fox’s New Girl, CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and NBC’s Up All Night and Whitney. For the first time in a long time, there has been no breakout new drama 3 weeks into the season, and no hourlong freshman series has been given a back-nine order. What’s more, two of the four renewed new comedies, New Girl and 2 Broke Girls, have become rare instant hits. In comparison, it took CBS’ The Big Bang Theory a couple of seasons to find its footing and rose to a hit status after being put behind Two And A Half Men in its third season. And CBS’ How I Met Your Mother just found a new gear with series highs in its seventh season.
With many veteran dramas fading, comedies dominate the fall schedule, especially in the key adults 18-49 demographic. A comedy series has been the top entertainment program in 18-49 on every night that features comedies during …
The broadcast season unofficially kicks off tonight. And just like in a kids board game, the youngest of the networks, the CW, got to start first, unspooling its new series Ringer starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. Also launching tonight are the new seasons of the CW’s 90210 and NBC’s Parenthood, marking the unofficial start of the new season, which kicks in on Monday. Here are the networks’ standings going into the fall season:
With Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies on tap for baseball’s postseason this year, along with the heavily promoted The X Factor and new big-budget dinosaur drama Terra Nova, Fox is in a position to significantly outperform last fall when the network carried the National League Championship Series and had two DOA shows, drama Lone Star and comedy Running Wilde. The question marks at the network this fall are the new comedies, New Girl and I Hate My Teenage Daughter, though both are propped up by solid lead-ins, Glee and X Factor, respectively, and whether Glee and House can rebound after a disappointing 2010-11 season. If the stars align and X Factor lives up to its ratings expectations, Fox may win the fourth quarter as it did two years ago when it also had the American League Championship Series and the highly rated freshman season of Glee.
Fox’s main rival for the top spot in the fall will be the epitome of stability, CBS, which will get a ratings boost from the re-launch of Two and a Half Men. The consensus is that CBS has potential breakout hits on its hands with new Monday comedy Two Broke Girls, which is launching behind the much-hyped return of Two and a Half Men, and possibly Thursday drama Person of Interest. The network is getting high marks for taking its aging series such as the CSI franchise and Survivor and relocating them to troubled spots on the schedule that they shore up. The network is expected to accomplish that again this season with the mothership CSI series, which is moving to Wednesday 10 PM, with its replacement on Thursday, Person of Interest, looking to do at least as well as CSI if not better. The only question marks at CBS are new Thursday 8:30 comedy How To Be a Gentleman and where Men will settle after the initial ratings spike.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
Tim Allen was talking trash and slinging jokes at today’s TCA panel on the new sitcom from Jack Burditt (30 Rock) Last Man Standing. The show marks Allen’s return to ABC after his hit show about a manly man, Home Improvement (1991-99).
A lot has changed since then. “I believe that at HI we were doing a 28 share, sometimes into a 30 share, with 30 million viewers,” Allen recalled. “We could tell the president what to do at that time.” It’s a “tighter leadership” now at ABC, he added. “I don’t want to say cheaper but I just did. Sometimes leaner is better. In this case, it’s not. We drink water out of a hose. There are no water bottles at ABC.”
After Home Improvement, Allen cracked that he had received “thousands, hundreds, no, millions of offers” for new series. “Every day it was an offer. I had an ‘offer office.’ ” He said that he would have liked to do a legal drama: “I like Castle, but that was already done,” he said. He said he had an offer for a legal series but added “I’m not going to tell you, it’s too embarrassing. It’s on the air now, and they cast a woman in the part,” a hint pointing to Harry’s Law ,whose lead was originally conceived as a man. Other Last Man cast members joked that the series was actually ABC’s reboot of Charlie’s Angels. “Yes, I was the middle one. I’m very attractive in a halter,” Allen joked. Asked why all men on TV these days seem to be “douche bags,” Allen replied: “That was the working title for this show actually … but Fox got it … they have a lot of douche bags, actually.”
Running out of slots for comedy series and striking out with new dramas in the fall, NBC and ABC in midseason expanded their existing two-hour comedy blocks on Thursday and Wednesday, respectively, to three hours, to largely uninspiring results. Going into next fall, the 10-11 PM comedy hours are being scrapped in favor of opening up more traditional 8-9 PM comedy blocks on other nights. In another sign of the resurgence of the comedy genre, for the first time in six years, each of the Big Four broadcast networks will have two comedy blocks on the fall schedule. Interestingly, both NBC and ABC opted to launch their new comedy blocks in the time periods where they most recently ran comedies. And just like the last time, both NBC and ABC populated the blocks with new comedies. In fall 2006, NBC launched 30 Rock and Twenty Good Years from 8-9 PM on Wednesday, the same time slot the network is using this year for new comedies Up All Night and Free Agents. ABC, which is going with the Tim Allen vehicle Last Man Standing and Chris Moynihan’s Man Up Tuesdays 8-9 PM, last tried comedies on the night in the fall of 2007, with then-newbies Cavemen and Carpoolers.
Something else happened this season: the return of the 10 PM drama. Scores of new dramas met their demise trying to get off the ground in the hour over the past few years, with the only shows to make it were modest hits Brothers and Sisters, Castle and The Good Wife. Uncertain about the prospects of 10 PM dramas, NBC even tried a Jay Leno talk show in the slot two seasons ago and had since kept the hour comedy/reality branded. But this season, all four freshman dramas to make it to Season 2 were 10 PM shows: CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods, ABC’s Body of Proof and NBC’s Harry’s Law. What’s more, for the first time in five years, all Big 3 networks have scheduled dramas in the 10 PM slot every night Sunday through Thursday.
Nancy Travis scored a double at the upfronts this week as both pilots she appeared in, the ABC comedy Last Man Standing the the CW light drama Hart of Dixie, were picked up to series. She was the female lead opposite Tim Allen in Last Man Standing and was a guest star/recurring in CW’s Hart of Dixie but was prominently featured in the clip for the medical drama screened at the CW’s upfront presentation. While regulars on series often recur on other shows, I hear that Last Man Standing producer 20th Century Fox TV wouldn’t allow Travis to recur on Dixie and her role will now be recast.
After getting to the brink of extinction on ABC, NBC and Fox last year, multicamera comedies staged a comeback this upfront season. While the genre has been alive and well on CBS, the number of multicamera comedies on the other broadcast networks had steadily declined in the past few years to three during the 2009-10 season — the short-lived ABC’s Hank, Fox’s Brothers and NBC’s 100 Questions, which didn’t even air in-season — then to only one this season, ABC’s Better with You, which also has been canceled. But sitcoms rebounded this year, with ABC, Fox and NBC ordering a total of five multicamera comedies: NBC’s Whitney and Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, ABC’s Last Man Standing and Work It and Fox’s I Hate My Teenage Daughter. Three of them, Last Men Standing, Whitney and I Hate My Teenage Daughter, are on the fall schedule in key slots — Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing is launching a new comedy block for ABC on Tuesday, while Whitney and Teenage Daughter landed their networks’ cushiest time periods: after The Office and The X Factor, respectively.