Will 'Modern Family,' '2 Broke Girls' Carry Their Weight?

Distributors looking to size up next fall’s premieres, this fall’s successes

For syndicators, a successful
sitcom is like the holy grail, with
a top-seller raking in billions. This
fall, with the broadcast networks having
already introduced nine new comedies,
distributors have their eyes on several new
entries and are waiting to see if any show
long-term promise.

Of the nine, only a few will be renewed
and even fewer will make it to syndication.
The rarest, but most desired, feat is
to turn into the next Big Bang Theory or
Two and a Half Men, two of syndication’s
top all-time sitcom earners.

It’s early yet, but already some of the new
sitcoms seem to be pulling ahead, raising
hopes about which show will earn TV’s next
big payday. Meanwhile, big expectations are
greeting shows a little further along in the
cycle—Modern Family, 2 Broke Girls and
Mike & Molly—which have already been
sold but have yet to premiere.

Three-time Emmy winner Modern
Family heads to syndication next fall.
The show was sold for approximately
$1.4 million an episode to USA Network
as well as to TV stations. Modern
opened season four on Sept. 26, to
a 5.5 rating among adults 18-49, making
it easily TV’s top scripted show in the key
demo. That can only feed the anticipation
set to greet Modern Family’s syndication
premiere next fall.

CBS’ 2 Broke Girls doesn’t hit syndication until 2015, but last spring,
TBS paid a record-breaking $1.7 million an episode for it. In its new
Monday 9 p.m. time slot, 2 Broke Girls is turning in a strong performance,
averaging a 3.6 among adults 18-49. That makes it by far the
highest-rated show of CBS’ Monday night, and the third-highest rated
sitcom on television, behind Modern Family and Big Bang.

“CBS has pinned their hopes on 2 Broke Girls,” says Brad Adgate,
senior VP at Horizon Media. “Monday at 9 p.m. is the showcase time
period for premium CBS comedies, and the home of such shows as
Two and a Half Men, Everybody Loves Raymond, Murphy Brown and

Mike & Molly
moved into a later slot this year, following 2 Broke
at 9:30 p.m. So far, the show is averaging
a respectable 3.0. Mike & Molly
sold for far less than 2 Broke Girls, and
will open in syndication in 2014 on FX
and broadcast stations.

Fox’s New Girl, in its second season, is
also a likely candidate for syndication. Averaging
a 2.8, New Girl is Fox’s Tuesdaynight

Last week, Fox renewed fellow Tuesday
night comedies Ben & Kate and The Mindy
, even though The Mindy Project is
averaging a 2.2 and Ben & Kate is averaging
just a 1.8.

“Fox has created a very youthful liveaction
comedy block,” says Adgate, noting
that the median age for New Girl, The
Mindy Project
and Ben & Kate is 35 to 37,
significantly lower than most primetime
shows. “Those [Fox comedies] may not
get the number of viewers that NCIS or
The Voice gets, but [Tuesday] night has become
a destination for younger viewers.
Not a lot of younger viewers, but certainly
younger viewers.”

NBC introduced four new sitcoms this
fall, and so far the top-rated of those is Go
, at a 2.4. Two weeks ago, NBC gave Go
a full-season order, along with Revolution
and The New Normal. While The New
is a critical favorite, it’s averaging a
1.9 in the demo, and coming in fourth in
the time period.

Meanwhile, both NBC’s Animal Practice (monkey or no) and Guys
with Kids
are struggling, averaging a 1.4 and a 1.6, respectively.

CBS and ABC each have only premiered one new sitcom so far:
CBS’ Partners and ABC’s The Neighbors. Neither show was received
well by critics, and at 2.2 and 1.9 in 18-49 ratings respectively, neither
is setting the world on fire. ABC has ordered three additional scripts
for The Neighbors, while Partners, currently the weakest link in CBS’
Monday lineup, is not expected to be picked up. ABC will launch one
more sitcom, the Reba McIntyre-starrer Malibu Country, on Nov. 2.

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