October 8, 2012

THE SKED: FOX Joins the Backorder Brigade

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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One trend of the early season seems to be networks willing to accept ratings from their newcomers that would have ensured cancellation just a few seasons ago.  Last week NBC gave a full-season order to The New Normal, which instantly rolled out a tepid 1.7 rating, and today it’s FOX’s turn.  THE MINDY PROJECT has received a 9-episode order for a traditional total of 22, while BEN AND KATE got an extra 6 for a total of 19.  (Reportedly the lower order for Ben and Kate is due to series creator Dana Fox’s pregnancy rather than ratings-related reasons.)  See our reviews of the newly-extended shows here and here.

Mindy hasn’t set the Nielsens on fire, with a 1.9 last week that was down a hefty 0.9 from its New Girl lead-in, but the show is high-quality and it makes some sense for the network to give it a chance to settle in and–such is the hope–catch on.  Ben and Kate, with a 1.6 last week, is tougher to justify.  It’s probably worth noting that FOX didn’t order any midseason half-hours for this year’s schedule, and with Mob Doctor already floundering and the rest of the line-up underwhelming, the rationale might have been that there’s nothing on the bench likely to do better, and the network might as well go all-in on last spring’s creative choices.

And remember:  a series order can always be cut back if necessary–all it costs is money.

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."