October 31, 2014

NIELSENWAR: Bring Out Your Dead! NBC Executes “Bad Judge” and “A To Z”


After last night’s atrocious 0.9/0.7 pairing, it was clear that the writing on the wall for NBC’s BAD JUDGE and A TO Z was scrawled in blood.  The network chose Halloween afternoon to announce the burials.  Those very few who enjoyed the shows needn’t start weeping just yet, though:  since The Blacklist was already scheduled to arrive in the Thursday 9PM hour in February, Bad Judge and A to Z will play out their strings, and even complete production on the remaining episodes of their 13-episode orders.  The shows will have the ability to wind up their storylines (more of an issue for the semi-serialized A to Z than for Bad Judge) before exiting permanently, more of a favor than most flop series get.

The two NBC misfires join ABC’s Manhattan Love Story (and FOX’s Mulaney, although that cancellation isn’t technically official) as the first carcasses of the 2014-15 network TV season, in what has been a largely wretched year for new comedies.  With the notable exception of Black-ish, nothing’s been working.  Selfie may survive into the spring because ABC doesn’t have much to replace it with, Cristela has the excuse of holding its own on low-rated Friday, and NBC’s Marry Me will coast, at least for a while, on its lead-in from The Voice.  But all of them are weak, and as of last night that includes The McCarthys, which premiered at a tepid (for CBS) 1.7 and may have hurt Elementary at 10PM.  Meanwhile, longer running comedies like New Girl, The Mindy Project, About A Boy and Last Man Standing aren’t doing much better.  Even the mighty Big Bang Theory, while still the biggest hit comedy on TV, was at a season low when it returned to Thursday last night.

Forget vampires, ghouls, and flesh-eating zombies.  These are the nightmares that haunt network and studio executives’ sleep.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."