Hits, misses, and cancelled shows of the fall 2013 TV season

The Blacklist, NBC
"The Blacklist" is among the biggest hits of the fall 2013 season. Photo: NBC.

SAN DIEGO, October 10, 2013 – Winners and losers are emerging at a record pace just a few weeks into the fall 2013 TV schedule.

There are a few legitimate hits so far, and they are mainly drama series, similar to fall 2012. “The Blacklist” with James Spader is the first series to be picked up for a full season by NBC.

Some networks have pulled the trigger on early cancellations. It’s a bit surprising considering the fact that TV ratings now include not just viewers on the original night a show airs, but a full seven days’ worth of DVR and online viewing. This makes a huge difference for some shows whose audiences delay watching them.

Dramas and shows that are popular with men are the shows that benefit most from time shifting. People don’t delay watching reality TV (too many spoilers), or comedies. Many viewers are now in the habit of “binge watching” multiple episodes at once thanks to Netflix.

When there’s a conflict, viewers will often watch an old favorite and leave the new show on the DVR, catching up with it later. The new ratings systems gives newer shows a chance to survive.

It takes the Nielsen rating company three weeks to deliver the final “plus seven” ratings to the TV networks, so you think we would not see any cancelled new shows until next week at the earliest. Oh so wrong. Several unfortunate shows have been axed already.

NBC doesn’t have to tolerate poor ratings because it has hundreds of hours of Winter Olympics programming just ahead. The network will be quick to can poor performers, and then use time during the Olympics to promote the new replacement shows starting after the Games.

Let’s take a look at how the Class of Fall 2013 is doing.


We Are Men, CBS: Apparently the men aren’t manly enough to hang onto the ratings of its lead-in comedy, the hit “How I Met Your Mother.” Speaking as one critic, any show featuring actor Tony Shalhoub on a show about bros wasn’t anything that would ever show up on any screen in my house.

Trophy Wife, ABC: This show’s ratings are about as low as they go. It’s still on the air but it’s on life support. If we wanted to see a trophy wife we’d be watching the Real Housewives. Pull the plug, ABC. UPDATE: ABC announced Nov. 1 it has given a full-season order and vote of confidence to its Tuesday comedies including “The Goldbergs” and “Trophy Wife.”

Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fox: Fox is running baseball playoff games which will buy these shows some time. Fox will also give a show from normally reliable producer Seth MacFarlane every possible chance. Same for the Andy Samberg cop comedy. All the same, don’t get too attached to either of these shows. UPDATE: Fox has decided to give both of these shows a chance with a full-season order. Count on seeing a lot of promos during the World Series for these shows.


The Blacklist, NBC: The highest rated new TV series and the breakout hit of the fall starring the attention grabbing James Spader as a career criminal who decides to partner with the FBI for reasons we’ve yet to learn. This is the first series to receive a full season order of 22 full episodes. We love watching intriguing creeps and Spader is up there with the all-time best. UPDATE: NBC made it official and renewed “The Blacklist” for a second season.

Sleepy Hollow, Fox: The biggest hit for Fox, this modern fantasy mystery twist on the classic story featuring Ichabod Crane has greatly improved Fox’s ratings on Monday night up against powerhouse reality shows “The Voice” and “Dancing With The Stars.” It gets a big boost from delayed viewing and Fox is quite satisfied; it’s the second series to get picked up for the entire season.

The Robin Williams comedy The Crazy Ones joins the lineup of comedy hits for CBS. Pictured: Robin William, Sarah Michelle Geller. Photo: CBS.
The Robin Williams comedy The Crazy Ones joins the lineup of comedy hits for CBS. Pictured: Robin William, Sarah Michelle Geller. Photo: CBS.

The Millers, CBS: One of the new Thursday comedies, it has quietly drawn the highest audience of any new series. Even if its ratings drop a bit, as long as it doesn’t scare off the audience watching “The Crazy Ones” which airs after “The Millers.” CBS will be very happy. UPDATE: CBS announced Oct. 18 it has ordered a full season of “The Millers.”

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, ABC: The first TV series in ages to channel the audience love for superheroes that has made movies like the Batman, Superman, and Avengers series so popular. It’s far from perfect, but this audience will forgive its faults. People are happy to see this genre on TV. UPDATE: ABC announced after publication Thursday it has picked up this series for a full season.

The Crazy Ones, CBS: The big winner among the new comedy lineup for CBS on Thursdays starring Robin Williams, who is whipping his competitor Michael J. Fox with his own headline show over at NBC. They won’t be competing with each other all season but it’s a nice victory for CBS nevertheless. UPDATE: CBS announced Oct. 18 it has ordered a full season of “The Crazy Ones.”


The Michael J. Fox Show, NBC: Fox lost the head to head battle against Williams, and the ratings dropped 23% from the first week to the second week. Still, it is the best thing NBC has to offer on Thursdays, and there is a lot of goodwill for Fox. NBC committed to a full season of this show so it will do what it can with the rest of the night’s schedule to help bring viewers to this series. UPDATE: While everyone was busy watching the Olympic Games, NBC quietly cancelled this poorly performing show.

Hostages, CBS: This perfectly good drama has the misfortune of running against NBC’s breakout hit “The Blacklist,” another crime drama. CBS is giving “Hostages” every chance to succeed, but its ratings are sliding. There are 15 episodes and if the plus-seven ratings show people are watching on their DVRs after seeing “The Blacklist” live, CBS will probably keep it on Monday. Otherwise, you may end up watching the rest of “Hostages” as a filler later this year, similar to what ABC did with “Zero Hour.” UPDATE: This limited run series finished its story arc in January, thankfully and will not reappear this spring. CBS is likely to call it a failed experiment.

Ironside, NBC: Did anyone really need a remake of this Raymond Burr classic? Apparently not. NBC is trying like crazy to give promotional CPR to this show but it’s probably beyond saving. UPDATE: NBC announced Oct. 18 it has taken “Ironside” off the air until the end of the year. It isn’t gone but its return is TBA. In the meantime, the timeslot will be filled by “The Voice” and a Saturday Night Live Halloween special.


Mom, CBS: The weakest of the new Monday night comedies, but it’s still doing a whole lot better than “Hostages.” It may still survive if it doesn’t lose any more audience. UPDATE: “Mom” has gotten its second wind; CBS announced Oct. 18 it has ordered a full season of “Mom.”

Welcome to the Family, and Sean Saves the World, NBC: These two Thursday night comedies are helping “The Michael J. Fox Show” look good in comparison. The ratings are weak and NBC will likely sacrifice these two shows quickly so they don’t drag down the Fox comedy like drowning men pulling their rescuer under. UPDATE: NBC announced Oct. 18 it has said goodbye and cancelled “Welcome To The Family.”

The audience for Showtime’s “Masters of Sex” is small compared to the broadcast networks, but it was the only new series besides “The Blacklist” to increase its audience from the first week to the second week. It helps balance the serious drop in ratings for the new HBO comedy “Hello Ladies” starring Stephen Merchant, following the misadventures of a single man in Los Angeles. It’s so painfully real and cringe inducing, perhaps viewers find it too hard to face. Apparently my own dating experiences aren’t so bad; I find it refreshingly real and funny.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News when quoting from or linking to this story.  

Copyright © 2013 by Falcon Valley Group


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