October 2, 2012

THE SKED’S NIELSENWAR: The First Back Orders

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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NBC understandably wants to shout its early-season good tidings as loudly as possible, and to that end it’s given very quick back orders (9 additional episodes on top of the 13-episode initial order) to REVOLUTION, GO ON and THE NEW NORMAL.  The first two of these are completely logical, as Revolution and, to a slightly lesser extent, Go On, have made the most of their The Voice lead-ins.  Revolution is dominating its Monday 10PM timeslot, and while Go On can’t claim the same, last week it was only slightly behind New Girl in its half-hour (both of them behind NCIS LA).

The rush to extend New Normal is a little more of a stretch:  the show has been doing all right, retaining more than 70% of its Go On lead-in last week, but its 2.0 rating was nothing to throw a parade about, and with ABC’s sitcoms still to launch in that hour, it’s far from clear Normal has hit bottom.  (In order to justify the order in its press release, NBC had to cite Normal‘s live-plus-3-day DVR numbers.)  More likely, the hurry is a product of the network’s spin that the season has so far been a triumph, plus the fact that with NBC’s Wednesday and Thursday sitcoms already flailing (and no one expecting much from Friday’s), its midseason half-hours will be needed elsewhere, and at least Normal‘s head is above water.

The first back order announcements usually start a flood of calls to the networks from producers and agents whose shows are also doing well, asking where their extensions are.  One would expect Elementary to have its hand out if its numbers hold up on Thursday, and possibly Vegas if it doesn’t slip too much tonight, but CBS is usually more cautious and patient about these decisions.  FOX certainly might consider a quick order for The Mindy Project if it increases its lead over New Normal tonight.  The season’s other new arrivals should probably sit quietly and hope their numbers rise.


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."