The Hollywood Reporter is officially calling the midseason a “muddle” for the broadcast networks. Most of the 10 comedies and dramas launched in the past month, including Internet pick-up quarterlife and Canterbury’s Law, failed to gain traction with viewers (quarterlife was yanked after a single episode after garnering some of the worst ratings NBC had seen in almost two decades).
But the network with the best and the worst track record is Fox. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is the highest-rated of the midseason scripted offerings with an average of 10.8 million viewers, but most of the other new shows are doing poorly: Parker Posey vehicle The Return of Jezebel James was pulled after attracting a paltry 3.2 million viewers; Canterbury’s, at 6.7 million, was moved from Monday to Friday after two eps; and Unhitched (pictured; 4.7 million viewers) is flagging.
Personally, I can’t say I’m terribly invested in any of the new shows, although as a fan of Jezebel’s Posey and Lauren Ambrose, I’m bummed that the show was such a mess. Perhaps that’s why the networks are having problems: With ratings powerhouse Idol taking the pressure off of the performance, Fox doesn’t need to worry about nurturing new scripted shows. The article also makes the point (via a quote from Fox exec VP Preston Beckman) that the glut of reality programming currently on the air has cultivated a different sort of audience — the kind that might not watch scripted shows in the first place.
What do you think, PopWatchers? Are you invested in any of the new scripted shows, or even prepping a bag of peanuts? Do you think the networks should allow more time for shows to gain fans before yanking them? Or is what happened to, say, Jezebel James, a mercy killing?