A huge primetime overrun from the Giants-Packers NFC Divisional playoff game easily won the night for Fox and lifted the network’s animation block. NBC is on track to finish second with the Golden Globe Awards, which were on par with last year in the metered markets. Fox’s football coverage ended at 8:12 PM, scrambling the ratings for the network’s comedies. From 8-8:30 PM, NFL/The Simpsons drew a 6.8/16. It is hard to tell what The Simpsons‘ final rating will be (mid 5s is probably a good guess), but it is expected to more than double the veteran comedy’s performance last week (2.3/5). From 8:30 PM-9 PM, The Simpsons and the series premiere of Napoleon Dynamite posted a 4.6/11. In the finals, Napoleon Dynamite is expected to be adjusted to about 4.5 to rank as the third-highest-rated new comedy premiere this season behind 2 Broke Girls and New Girl. The adaptation of the cult indie movie almost doubled the debut of the now-defunct Allen Gregory (2.4/6) in the 8:30 PM slot earlier this season. (Napoleon Dynamite‘s lead-in was about 40% higher than Allen Gregory‘s.) At 9 PM, Napoleon Dynamite/Family Guy averaged a 4.4/10, up from Family Guy‘s 3.1/7 last week, and at 9:30 PM, Family Guy and a second original episode of Napoleon Dynamite logged a 3.6/8.
RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ Premiere Boosted By Football; ‘Once Upon A Time’, ‘Desperate Housewives’ Down
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At today’s TCA panel on Fox’s new animated series Napoleon Dynamite, executive producer Mike Scully, also a longtime producer of The Simpsons, joked that the creative team behind Dynamite should be called “Two Mormons and an Atheist Productions.” That’s because Scully joins Jared Hess and wife Jerusha, the creative couple behind the 2004 cult film, in producing the TV series. The Hesses are Mormons; Scully is not. Although the long-running The Simpsons has a reputation for occasionally raunchy humor, Scully said he sees no conflict in working on Dynamite, which will maintain the movie’s clean, PG-rated family tone. The film’s original cast will voice the characters, including Jon Heder as Napoleon. “I learned on The Simpsons that the raunchy joke is the easiest one, or the pop culture joke,” Scully said. “It’s always fun if you can exercise another part of your brain. When I saw the film, I was laughing so hard I didn’t realize the movie was rated PG. We’ve probably had three or four differences on jokes, but no one is storming out of the room.”
Fox Announces Midseason Sched: ‘Touch’ Gets Monday 9 PM Slot, ‘American Idol’ Paired With ‘Mobbed’ On Wednesdays
Fox today was the last broadcast network to reveal its midseason plans. There were no major surprises. The J.J. Abrams-produced time-travel drama Alcatraz will air in the Monday 9 PM slot as announced at Fox’s upfront in May. As expected, it will share the slot — once occupied by real-time drama 24 – with 24 star Kiefer Sutherland’s new drama series Touch. Alcatraz launches on January 16, Touch on March 19 after a preview on January 25 behind American Idol.
Resurrected comedy Breaking In officially joins Fox’s new two-hour, four-show Tuesday comedy block that will launch March 6, when Glee goes on hiatus before returning with all-original episodes. With pilots Family Album and Little In Common dead, Fox is short a show for the block, so it will air New Girl reruns along with new episodes of New Girl, Raising Hope and Breaking In. The multi-camera I Hate My Teenage Daughter, which premiered after The X Factor last night, is not on the schedule, but Fox says that it will return as originally planned in spring, airing behind a 90-minute Idol performance show. Idol‘s premiere date has been tweaked. The reality competition series was originally going to launch its 11th season behind the NFC Championship game on Jan. 22. Idol will still air after the big game, but as a special. The new season will now start on Jan. 18 with a Wednesday-Thursday premiere. Fox also kept its original scheduling plan for Bones spinoff The Finder intact. It will premiere on January 12 behind a Bones rerun and will air after the Idol results show starting the following week. Bones will return in the spring. New animated series Napoleon Dynamite has been assigned the Sunday 8:30 PM slot currently occupied by Allen Gregory, also per Fox’s original plans. Here is Fox’s midseason schedule with premiere dates: