2ND UPDATE, 2:45 PM: More cleanup at NBC. Freshman comedy Guys With Kids and sophomore Up All Night also are gone. It comes down to Go On, The New Normal and Community on the comedy side, on which NBC is yet to make a decision… Hannibal looks promising on the drama side, and people are cautiously optimistic about Community among half-hours. The cancellation of both Whitney and Guys With Kids means that NBC won’t have an existing multi-camera companion for the only multi-cam new comedy series it has picked up so far, Sean Saves The World. It may be paired with another multi-cam comedy project that is awaiting word on a pickup, pilot Undateable. As for Up All Night, the cancellation is a formality as the series died when the plan to convert it from a single- to multi-camera format fell apart. The axing gives CBS the free and clear to pickup its untitled Greg Garcia comedy pilot, starring Up All Night‘s Will Arnett, to series.
Related: NBC’s New Series Pickups
UPDATE, 1:58 PM: The axe has begun to fall on NBC’s bubble comedies: Whitney and 1600 Penn. The cancellation of Whitney frees up two comedy pilots to get series orders — NBC’s Undateable, which stars Whitney‘s Chris D’Elia, and CBS’ Friends With Better Lives, which stars Zoe Lister Jones. Whitney has been a lightning rod since its launch, drawing polarizing reactions and getting mostly panned by critics. It started off OK in the ratings last season but gradually fizzled. It returned late last fall and did decent business on Wednesday but its long-term prospects remained dim. Not much to say about freshman 1600 Penn, whose cancellation was a mere formality after a dismal midseason run. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: NBC has given Whitney a pickup for 3 additional episodes, bringing its second-season order to 16 episodes. In May, the multi-camera comedy received a 13-episode second-season. It was originally scheduled to air in the Friday 8 PM slot but in October it was upgraded to the higher-profile Wednesday 8 PM berth, which it previously occupied. Then early last month, before Whitney‘s second season had premiered, the show was given an order for five more scripts. Now that order has been converted into 3 episodes. The back order comes as Whitney‘s fifth episode of the season last night drew a 1.4/4 in 18-49, matching its season high and up 8% versus last week while most other shows were down. It was the series’ second consecutive week-to-week gain. Whitney joins its time slot mate, fellow multi-camera comedy Guys With Kids, which also received a partial back order, 4 episodes, though the freshman debuted two months before Whitney.
NBC’s attempt to improve its fortunes on Wednesday by replacing underperforming (and already cancelled) newbie Animal Practice with sophomore Whitney is not working, at least not from the get go. In its second season premiere last night, Whitney (1.4/4 in adults 18-49) matched the debut in the Wednesday 8 PM slot of its predecessor Animal Practice. It was down 30% from Whitney‘s debut in the time period last spring and tied as its series low. Guys With Kids (1.3/4), the only Wednesday series to still be awaiting a decision on a back order, was flat with two weeks ago and also tied as a series low. Law & Order: SVU (1.6/4) was down 6% from two weeks ago, and it too tied its series low. After the big ratings jump last week when it followed an original Voice, newly picked up Chicago Fire (1.6/5) retreated 27% for a net gain of .1 vs. its original two weeks ago. But it held onto 100% of its lead-in, something no other 10 PM rookie drama has been able to do this season.
The other new Wednesday 10 PM drama that received a full-season order over the past week was ABC’s Nashville (1.8/5), which reversed its ratings downtrend last week with a .2 uptick. But the rise was short-lived as the soap dropped .2 last night to return to the series low level of two weeks ago. The entire ABC Wednesday lineup was in negative territory last night. The Middle (2.5/8) was down 7%; The Neighbors (1.9/5) down 10% to tie its series low; Modern Family (4.6/12) down 4% and Suburgatory (2.4/6), which continues its pendulum swings, down 17% from last week’s season high to tie its season low. Read More »
Things continue to get better for NBC’s Whitney. In May, the multi-camera comedy received a 13-episode second-season order and a Friday 8 PM slot. Last month, it was upgraded to the higher-profile Wednesday 8 PM berth, which was previously occupied. And now the network has given it an order for five more scripts, increasing the show’s chances for a back episodic order. Whitney, which will open its second season next Wednesday, joins its new time slot mate, freshman comedy Guys With Kids, which also has a five-script order as does new NBC drama Chicago Fire.
That 1.0 adults 18-49 rating last night didn’t do flailing new NBC comedy Animal Practice any favors. The network just announced that Animal Practice will be replaced by Whitney, whose second season will premiere November 14. Animal Practice will remain on the air until then.
It has been a fast fall from grace for Animal Practice, whose pilot was previewed during NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics’ Closing Ceremony. But the comedy starring Justin Kirk and Crystal the monkey never found traction when it launched last month. Meanwhile, NBC signaled that it may have other plans in store for returning comedies Whitney and Community last week when it pushed back the shows’ scheduled Friday debut. Whitney and Guys With Kids are the only multi-camera comedies on NBC, and now they will run together. The move brings Whitney to the Wednesday 8 PM slot where it aired for the second half of last season. Will Community re-join NBC’s Thursday night next? Read More »
NBC has put its Friday comedy block on hold. The network announced in May that it would premiere Community and Whitney on October 19 and air them in the Friday 8 PM hour. Now both shows’ return has been postponed, with Grimm reruns slated in the Friday 8 PM slot for the time being. The idea of launching a comedy block with younger-skewing comedies on the low-trafficked Friday night raised eyebrows in May. It was a decision made before the arrival of Jeff Bader as NBC’s new head of scheduling in August. In its statement today, NBC hints that Community and Whitney may be relocated to a higher-profile night Monday-Wednesday as replacements. So far, NBC has given new comedies Go On and The New Normal, which air on Tuesday, full-season orders. Guys With Kids and Animal Practice have struggled on Wednesday, though both posted week-to-week increases last Wednesday. Here is NBC’s statement: Read More »
Whitney regular Maulik Pancholy has been let go from the comedy after one season. However, the actor is staying on NBC, jumping back to 30 Rock. On the 13-episode seventh and final season of 30 Rock, Pancholy will reprise his role as Jack’s intrepid assistant Jonathan, which he played on a recurring basis from the pilot through the end of Season 5 when he segued to Whitney. He first appears in 30 Rock’s season premiere.
On Whitney Cummings’ Whitney, Pancholy played Lily’s (Zoe Lister Jones) boyfriend Neal who came out as gay towards the end of the season. His exit was explained with creative changes the show is undergoing heading into Season 2, with Will Calhoun on board as new showrunner, replacing Betsy Thomas. Whitney was renewed for 13-episodes to air on Friday.
Multicamera sitcoms hit a milestone last month when two freshmen, NBC’s Whitney and ABC’s Last Man Standing, were renewed for a second season. It marked the first time a freshman multicamera comedy on a broadcast network other than CBS has made it to Season 2 in five years, since ‘Til Death was awarded a second season on Fox in 2007. Overall, three freshman multicamera comedies, including CBS breakout 2 Broke Girls, went to a second the season, the most in a decade. But despite that major achievement, multicamera comedies lost ground as the single-camera/multicamera divide between CBS and the rest of the broadcast networks deepened this upfront.
Related: UPFRONTS 2012: The Year Of Underdogs, Comebacks & Second Chances
ABC, NBC and Fox ordered a combined 14 new comedy series this year, the same as last year, but the number of multicamera comedies dropped by more than half. Of the 14, 5 or 36% were multicamera last year. This time, the number has fallen to two, or 14% — ABC’s Malibu Country and NBC’s Guys With Kids. Fox will have no multicamera series on the air next season, while ABC and NBC will have two each, Malibu Country and Last Man Standing (ABC) and Whitney and Guys With Kids (NBC). In a sign of the hard time the multicamera format has had outside CBS, when ABC recently decided to re-pilot CBS’ Rebel Wilson comedy pilot Super Fun Night, it opted to convert it from multi- to single camera.
Related: Over-Achievers Of This Year’s Upfront Read More »
Friends alum Wil Calhoun has been tapped as executive producer/showrunner of NBC’s comedy series Whitney, which is heading into its second season. The stint is part of his overall deal with Universal TV, which produces Whitney. Calhoun, who will work with series creator/star Whitney Cummings, replaces Betsy Thomas, who has moved to NBC’s new comedy series Guys With Kids as a co-executive producer. There has been a change at the helm of both NBC freshman comedies that were renewed for a second season. Up All Night has Tucker Cawley as new executive producer/showrunner.
UPDATED: Last year, most midseason series received shorter orders for fewer of the standard 13 episodes new shows get. That included ABC’s GCB (10), The River (8) and Scandal and Don’t The B—- (7), CBS’ Rob (8) and NBC’s Bent (6) and Best Friends Forever (6).
This year, the networks are not as stingy to new shows, with only two midseason series, ABC’s drama Red Widow starring Radha Mitchell and NBC’s late pickup, comedy Next Caller starring Dane Cook, getting fewer than 13 episodes — 8 and 7, respectively.
But there are a number of returning series whose orders are shorter than the standard full-season 22 episodes (13 for midseason shows getting a second-season pickup). NBC did a lot of that on the comedy side, which the network’s topper Bob Greenblatt said at the NBC upfront was how they could afford to pick up as many (7) new comedy series. Of NBC’s returning comedy series only flagship The Office and Parks & Recreation have received 22-episode renewals. The rest, 30 Rock, Community, Up All Night and Whitney have been picked up for 13 episodes each. For 30 Rock, that marks the final season. During a press call on Monday, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly criticized the shorter orders for returning comedy series, calling them potentially “confusing.”
Also getting a 13-episode order is ABC’s procedural Body Of Proof, which is … Read More »
NBC is bringing back 13 comedy series — seven new and six returning — vs. 9 dramas — five new and four returning, so it was clear its schedule was going to be comedy-heavy. But the network is making a big statement with comedy blocks on four nights: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. That is a very rapid expansion since for a number of years the network had comedies solely on Thursday until opening a second night on Wednesday last season. This fall, the network is launching two more blocks, one from 9-10 PM on Tuesday, following The Voice results show, with Go On and The New Normal, and one on Friday at 8 PM with Whitney and Community. Loading up on comedies was intentional, NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “Comedy once was the backbone of NBC, and I think we need to really plan for the future. It is good for the health of the network. People are open to comedy more than they have been in long time.”
NBC’s 2012-13 Fall Schedule
With the exception of The Office and Parks & Recreation, which were picked up with full-season, 22-episode orders, most NBC returning comedy series have 13-episode orders, including Community, 30 Rock and Up All Night. Greenblatt was quick to note that “a 13-episode order … Read More »
UPDATED: Whitney‘s renewal today was a big victory for the freshman NBC sitcom, which had been in serious danger of cancellation. But it also represents a major feat for the multi-camera genre on a broadcast network other than CBS.
This is the first time a freshman multi-camera comedy has made it to Season 2 outside of the format’s traditional home, CBS, in five years, since ‘Til Death was awarded a second season on Fox in 2007. What’s more, we could have two freshman sitcoms accomplishing that this year as ABC’s Last Men Standing is awaiting a renewal too.
While Fox wrapped its new series pickups and existing series renewals within a couple of hours yesterday, for NBC, whose upfront presentation is on the same day as Fox, it has become a week-long ordeal. After early series pickup of comedy Go On and renewals of Grimm and Smash last month, the network began its orders/renewals in earnest on Monday morning. Four days later, it’s still nowhere near done.
NBC’s highest-rated comedy series, The Office, is yet to get a renewal. (With stars Ed Helms, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer poised to return that now appears imminent.) The fate of NBC’s second most watched drama series, Harry’s Law (8.8 million viewers, only a fraction behind the Voice-boosted Smash with 9.0 million), is hanging in the balance. There’s no word on Parks & Recreation, Up All Night and Whitney. The Office, Parks & Recreation and Up All Night are all fully expected to return, and I hear their renewals may be done in one fell swoop. Buzz is also encouraging on Harry’s Law, which I hear is eyed for a potential 13-episode midseason order. The multi-camera Whitney is on the fence but not dead as the sole multi-camera comedy series picked up for next season so far, newbie Guys With Kids, is still looking for a companion.
Which brings us to the NBC pilots. Word is the network has not officially released those that haven’t been picked up despite speculation that it is pretty much done with its orders. That includes two of NBC’s highest-testing and well-received pilots, the multi-camera comedies Daddy’s Girls and Lady Friends, which had been in limbo but presumed dead. (Will ABC or CBS make a play for them?) On the drama side, none of the pilots that have not been picked up already seem to be in contention anymore. Read More »
American Idol‘s ratings slide continues. Last night’s episode posted a 5.9/17 in 18-49 and 18.2 million viewers, down 8% in the demo from last Wednesday’s fast national. Compared with the same week last year, the veteran singing competition was down 34%. Idol was followed by Mobbed (2.9/7), which was up 123% from its previous original two weeks ago. But that original followed a Mobbed repeat, so last night, the flash mob series’ lead-in went up 500%, and it was able to capitalize only on a fraction of it. It was down 19% from what the Touch preview logged in the hour last week. Fox (4.4/12, 13.1 million) won the night in 18-49 and total viewers against mostly rerun competition on the Big 3 networks. Read More »
Two series on the opposite ends of their runs had premieres last night — rookie NBC comedy Are You There, Chelsea and departing CW drama One Tree Hill. The series debut of Chelsea (2.3/6 in adults 18-49, 6.4 million total viewers) did far better than the premiere of NBC’s fall comedy in the Wednesday 8:30 PM slot, Free Agents (1.3/4, 3.9 million), and posted the network’s best 18-49 result in the time period this season. Chelsea also built onto its lead-in, the time-slot premiere of Whitney (2.1/5, 6.1 million), which was down 9% from the debut of Up All Night in the time period in September but up 11% from Whitney‘s most recent Thursday telecast December 8. That is NBC’s best 18-49 result in the Wednesday 8 PM half-hour since October 19. NBC’s relatively good news extended to the 9 PM hour, where Harry’s Law (1.4/3, 8.7 million) featuring Erica Durance as Wonder Woman hit a season high in 18-49 and posted its second-largest audience for the the season. At 10 PM, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2.0/5, 8.4 million) was up 5% from five weeks ago and also posted its second-largest viewership of the season. NBC should enjoy the decent 8-10 PM numbers this week because next week its shows will face the premiere of Fox’s American Idol. Read More »
NBC To Give ‘Harry’s Law’ Full-Season Order; ‘Prime Suspect’ Gone?
After a pretty dismal fall, NBC is shaking things up in midseason with several scheduling changes. Gone from the lineup is struggling freshman Prime Suspect (NBC says it hasn’t made a final decision on its cancellation), while four series — Whitney, Up All Night, Harry’s Law and Rock Center With Brian Williams — are on the move. NBC is creating a multi-camera comedy block in the 8-9 PM Wednesday hour with Whitney and midseason comedy Are You There, Chelsea (formerly Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea; No alcohol-flavored title in the family hour.) The block, which will debut January 11, brings together two female comedians with similar sensibility in Whitney Cummings and Chelsea Handler, on whose books Chelsea is based. A month later, the two comedies will be followed by low-rated newsmagazine Rock Center With Brian Williams. It will take over the Wednesday 9 PM slot from Harry’s Law, which is moving to Sundays. Rock Center had to move out of the Monday 10 PM slot to make room for NBC’s highest-profile new series this season, Broadway drama Smash, which will premiere on February 6 and run in the post-The Voice slot as originally scheduled. NBC’s other changes for midseason include new comedy Up All Night moving to Whitney‘s Thursday 9:30 PM slot; 30 Rock replacing Community on Thursdays at 8 PM; and the John Grisham adaptation The Firm, originally slated for a Sunday midseason run, sliding into Prime Suspect‘s Thursday 10 PM slot. The order for Community has not been reduced, so it’s unclear what NBC will do with the remaining episodes of the college-set comedy. Missing from the midseason lineup is NBC’s ambitious new drama series Awake, which recently took an unplanned break to work on scripts. Here is NBC’s midseason schedule (with premiere dates) that also includes new reality series Fashion Star on Tuesdays at 10 PM and the return of Celebrity Apprentice on Sundays: Read More »