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Broadcasters Begin the Seasonal Pruning Process - Broadcasting & Cable

Broadcasters Begin the Seasonal Pruning Process

It took longer than normal, but the first new shows of the season are finally falling
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As noted in B&C’s cover story this week, the broadcast networks have been slower to pull the trigger on both cancelations and second seasons this fall than in season’s past. As of press time Friday afternoon, only one broadcaster had canceled one show, with ABC having cut Manhattan Love Story Oct. 24. But over the weekend, NBC and Fox began to prune their lineups. (Below, we’ve updated the chart from this week’s cover story to reflect the recent cancelations.)

NBC confirmed Friday evening that it had canceled comedies Bad Judge and A to Z (though both shows will complete their 13-episode orders and neither will be pulled immediately from the schedule).

Through Oct. 26, Bad Judge averaged a 1.2 Nielsen live-plus-same day rating among adults 18-49 and A to Z a 1.0. But in their most recent episodes Bad Judge dipped to 0.9 and A to Z fell to 0.7—the number hit by Manhattan Love Story in its final episode before ABC pulled it from the air. NBC has continued to struggle this fall on Thursday night, though it has planned since schedules were announced at upfronts to recalibrate at midseason, when it will move The Blacklist to Thursdays, where it will lead in to new drama Allegiance.

Fox then confirmed Sunday that it had canceledUtopia, pulling it from the schedule immediately. The unscripted series, which started the season airing two nights a week, had already been pulled from the Tuesday schedule. It failed to clear even the more modest bar of Friday night ratings standards as the season rolled on, drawing a 0.5 in its most recent episode.

That leaves CBS as the only one of the Big Four to have not yet canceled a show this season. The network’s four new dramas have performed admirably (though better in total viewers than in the 18-49 demo). But on Thursday CBS premiered its first new comedy of the season,The McCarthys. The 1.9 rating the show garnered would have constituted a solid debut for a new sitcom on most networks. But The McCarthys premiered as part of the strongest comedy block on television, and didn’t quite measure up to CBS’ other Thursday-night comedies, losing 30% of its lead in from Two and a Half Men.

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