March 4, 2013

THE SKED: FOX Backs Up the Pick-Up Truck


FOX opted for stability today and renewed NEW GIRL, THE FOLLOWING, THE MINDY PROJECT and RAISING HOPE for next season.  The first two were no-brainers.  Even though New Girl isn’t the breakout smash the network had been hoping for (especially this fall, when The Voice boosted Go On‘s ratings), it’s FOX’s highest-rated live-action comedy and its signature half-hour, as well as a critical darling (and rightly so).  The Following has done very well (a 2.8 last week) despite difficult subject matter, although its numbers come with a bit of an asterisk because it hasn’t had to face The Voice yet.  Also, as it did this season, Following will only have a 15-episode run next year, premiering in early 2014, which means FOX still needs to fill the Monday 9PM slot for 4 months in the fall.

The Mindy Project has done passably well under current network standards, with recent numbers in the high 1s (like New Girl, it falls when The Voice gooses the rest of NBC’s Tuesday).  The question Fox will have in scheduling for the fall is whether Mindy is strong enough to work in another timeslot, or if it still needs the support of New Girl to maintain a viable number–the latter meaning, of course, that the network wouldn’t be able to use New Girl to launch anything new.  The fact that Mindy has begun to show more creative consistency in the past few episodes probably helped FOX’s decision.

Raising Hope was more of a bubble show, its survival justified by its general reliability (and also quality), even though its ratings have only been in the mid-1s, even against Off Their RockersHope‘s middling ratings make it tough to use as a launching pad for anything new, as Ben & Kate discovered this season, and ideally, FOX would have a comedy pilot strong enough to shift Hope to an 8:30PM slot.  Meanwhile, though, renewing Mindy and Hope reinforce the new reality that a sub-2 rating can be a sign of “success” at the broadcast networks these days.

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."