After a two-month rocky run on FXX, the upstart cable network has pulled the plug on its late-night program Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell. Its last original will air tomorrow night. FXX will continue to air repeats of the show for the rest of the week with Sunday’s best of the week “Mixtape” airing to feature new intros from Bell. Even before today’s news, Totally Biased was scheduled to go on hiatus after this week. As I pointed out in my post The Mystery Of ‘Totally Biased’s Vanishing Audience two weeks ago, the show has had a very rough sledding in its transition from FX to FXX, drawing something like 12,000 total viewers, 4,000 adults 18-49, 3,000 adults 18-34 and 0 adults 18-24 at 11 PM on nights where FXX doesn’t have originals in primetime. While a dropoff in moving to FXX, which is carried in 26 million fewer homes than flagship FX, was expected, those public access program-level numbers were puzzling as Totally Biased was a solid and pretty stable ratings performer on FX. Totally Biased performed better on Wednesdays, following original series It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and The League, drawing an average of 110,000 total viewers, 92,000 adults 18-49 and 64,000 adults 18-34. Still, that was less than a third of the show’s audience on FX in the final leg of its …
It’s been a rough sledding for FX‘s late-night program Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell in its new home on FXX. With only one night of originals on the fledgling network, Wednesdays, the nightly Totally Biased has been barely registering for most of the week. For instance, on Monday, the show drew only 12,000 total viewers at 11 PM. Its adults 18-49 delivery was 4,000. In FXX’s target demo of adults 18-34 it averaged 3,000 viewers, while its young adults aged 18-24 audience was so miniscule, it was listed as 0 on the Nielsen charts. To put it in perspective, the second lowest rated cable late-night show among adults 18-49 on Monday, The Pete Holmes Show, averaged 245,000 in the demo. That’s 61 times Totally Biased‘s tally. In 18-34, the second lowest rated program, Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, scored 101,000 viewers, 34 times the viewership of Totally Biased. While a dropoff in moving to FXX, which is carried in 26 million fewer homes than flagship FX, was expected, those public access program-level numbers are puzzling as Totally Biased was a solid and pretty stable ratings performer on FX. Adding to the head-scratcher is the fact that Totally Biased‘s 1 AM repeat on Monday night did far better than the 11 PM premiere, logging 39,000 total viewers and 27,000 adults 18-49.
Totally Biased performs better on Wednesdays, following original …
Emmy and WGA award winner Brian McCann has joined FX’s Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell as a producer and writer. “In 1995 my Chicago Bulls knew they were one piece away from a championship. They shocked the world by acquiring Dennis Rodman, best known for his incredible rebounding, his will to win, and unpredictability,” said Bell in a statement Thursday. “Totally Biased has just acquired Brian McCann, best known for his incredible run with Conan O’Brien, his will to get laughter at any cost, and his unpredictability. He is our Dennis Rodman. We are now ready to win.” Before his move over to the FX series, McCann spent 17 years working with Conan O’Brien on NBC’s Late Night With Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien and Conan on TBS. Having debuted as a weekly show on FX in August 2012, Totally Biased is scheduled to move over to the new FXX when it launches in September. The half hour show will also expand to five nights a week. Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell comes from Bell and Executive Producers Chris Rock, Chuck Sklar and Keri Smith Esguia. The series is produced by FX Productions.
Three of FX’s comedy series — flagship It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, The League and Legit — will help launch new sibling FXX (formerly Fox Soccer), along with late-night show Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. Sunny, The League and Legit have been renewed for Season 10, 6 and 2, respectively. Additionally, Totally Biased will expand to five nights a week after it moves to FXX when the network launches September 2. The plan for FXX is to start with four original comedy series and one late-night show. The fourth original comedy will likely come from one of FX’s half-hour pilots, FX president John Landgraf said. Live talk show Brand X With Russell Brand will be moving over to FXX if the show returns for a third season. Langraf said a decision on that would made in the next few months. The new network’s original offerings will go up to six comedy series by the second year and to gradually introduce dramas.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The subject of violence was raised during the morning TCA panel for the weekly FX late-night talk show Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, as it has been during every panel of TCA thus far. Not that there’s any violence in Bell’s show, per se. But exec producer Chris Rock has famously riffed on gun control in his own stand-up comedy act, ranting that there should be no restriction on guns, but bullets ought to cost $5,000 apiece. “The gun lobby also says people need to be able to protect their property,” Rock said, “but every mass shooting is done by guys who live with their mother. So I believe you should need to have a mortgage to buy a gun. A mortgage is a real background check. Even if you go to jail for 30 years, you’ve still got to pay your fucking mortgage.”
Rock was asked if he’d maybe like to get back into the talk show game himself. “Well, a part of me would want to do it,” he said. “I just don’t know if I could do it all the time. Michael Jordan could play one game and score 50, but he couldn’t do it the next night. I just don’t care about Lindsay Lohan. Maybe if this show is successful, I can be like Barbara Walters on The View and just step up and be funny and then leave.” And if Rock were to do his own scripted comedy series, he would want the same do-everything-yourself model that Louis C.K. has at FX. “I’d want nothing less than that,” he said.
FX announced today 2013 return dates for four series and a premiere date for the new series Legit. Justified will be back on January 8 at 10 PM for its fourth season, with the rest of the series set to return January 17: Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management starts its back-90 run, launching with back-to-back episodes at 9 and 9:30 PM before settling into its regular 9:30 slot. Archer will make its Season 4 premiere at 10, and the recently reordered Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell will air at 11. Legit, the new comedy series starring Jim Jeffries that has a 13-episode order, will have its series premiere that night at 10:30 PM.
FX has ordered 13 additional episodes each of BrandX With Russell Brand and Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell. These are the biggest orders to date for the late-night shows, which were originally picked up for six episodes each, followed by seven-episode pickups in the summer. BrandX, which already underwent creative changes between the first and second cycle, will be tweaked again, this time expanding from a half-hour to one hour. As a preview of what’s to come, the final 2012 installment of Brand’s talker will air as a special one-hour episode Thursday at 11:30 PM before the show returns February 7 at 11:30 PM in its new regular full-hour format. The final 2012 episode of Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell airs Thursday at 11 PM. It will come back with originals January 17. “We’re proud to have two of the most strikingly original and funny voices in late night as part of the FX comedy lineup,” said FX EVP Nick Grad. BrandX is executive produced by Brand, Troy Miller, Nik Linnen and John Noel; Totally Biased by Chris Rock, Chuck Sklar and Keri Smith Esguia. Both shows hail from FX Prods.
FX has now extended both of its late-night comedy series. After ordering seven more episodes of Russell Brand‘s Brand X in July, the cable network has now done the same with Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell. The show, executive produced by Chris Rock, will wrap its six-episode first cycle Thursday at 11 PM. The second cycle will begin October 11 in a new 11:30 PM time period, following the return of the revamped BrandX With Russell Brand that night at 11 PM. “What we’ve seen through five shows only reinforces our belief that Kamau is one of the sharpest, smartest and funniest young comedians in the business,” said FX EVP Nick Grad. “He brings an interesting perspective to late-night TV and has proven to be very comfortable in this format.”