CBS this morning was the latest broadcast network to weigh in on freshman series back orders, giving full-season pickups to dramas Elementary and Vegas. The first wave of episodic orders typically goes to the strongest ratings performers, with the next echelon getting additional script orders while the networks decide whether to keep them around. This is the case again this fall with one notable exception: Fox’s modestly rated new comedy Ben And Kate, the only new series with a back order to get fewer than nine episodes (six), as its pickup was more of a statement by Fox that it is committed to nurturing its fledgling Tuesday comedy block than a testament to the show’s strength. The full-season 22-episode orders to date went to the six highest-rated new series among adults 18-49: NBC’s Revolution (4.3/11 in most current ratings*), CBS’ Elementary (3.5/10), NBC’s Go On (2.9/8), CBS’ Vegas (2.7/8), Fox’s The Mindy Project (2.6/7) and NBC’s The New Normal (2.5/7). Ben And Kate (1.8) is six slots down, below ABC’s Nashville (2.4), ABC’s Last Resort (2.3), ABC’s 666 Park Ave, CBS’ Partners (2.3) and ABC’s The Neighbors (2.1). The CW’s sole pickup so far, Arrow, is the network’s highest-rated series this fall with a 1.3 in 18-49. (Note: Full Freshman Series Status Report chart after the story.) Interestingly, the only freshman show to get a larger-than-22-episode pickup this season was not the highest-rated (Revolution), but Mindy Project, for reasons in the vein of those for Ben And Kate‘s back order. (Fox also is pre-empting Mindy for three of the current four weeks, so the extra order served as a vote of confidence to the Mindy Kaling series.) I hear there are discussions for an extra episode of Arrow, which would push the order to 23.
Of the freshman series that have been on the air for at least three weeks, only CBS’ comedy Partners is still awaiting word on an episodic or script order. The comedy was pre-empted last night, and the network will likely wait another week before making a decision. Because of the first Presidential debate, ABC’s Nashville and Chicago Fire launched late and have only aired two episodes, so decisions on both are forthcoming. Neither is considered a slam dunk after steep second-week declines, though Nashville is in better shape critics- and ratings-wise. ABC, which was flying high last fall with early full-season orders to Once Upon A Time, Revenge and Suburgatory, is the only broadcast network with no episodic back orders yet. (It has given out script pickups to dramas 666 Park Ave and Last Resort and comedy The Neighbors).
Technically, Fox has not ruled on the fate of low-rated The Mob Doctor, though its options are down to whether to keep the show on the air for several more weeks or pull it. For now, Mob Doctor is slated to return to the schedule after the World Series on November 5, the second Monday of the November sweep.
Here is a list of all freshman series ranked by 18-49 rating, along with their current pickup status.
1. Revolution NBC 9-episode order (total of 22) 4.3/11 in 18-49
2. Elementary CBS 9-episode order (22) 3.5/9
3. Go On NBC 9-episode order (22) 2.9/8
4. Vegas CBS 9-episode order (22) 2.7/8
5. The Mindy Project Fox 11-episode order (24) 2.6/7
6. The New Normal NBC 9-episode order (22) 2.5/7
7. Nashville ABC TBD 2.4/7
8. Last Resort ABC 2 Scripts 2.3/7
8. Partners CBS TBD 2.3/6
8. 666 Park Ave ABC 2 Scripts 2.3/6
11. The Neighbors ABC 3 Scripts 2.1/6
12. Ben And Kate Fox 6-episode order (19) 1.8/5
13. Chicago Fire NBC TBD 1.7/5
13. Guys With Kids NBC 5 scripts 1.7/5
15. Animal Practice NBC Cancelled 1.4/5
16. Mob Doctor Fox All But Cancelled 1.3/3
16. Arrow The CW 9 Episodes (22) 1.3/4
17. Made In Jersey CBS Cancelled 1.1/4
18. Beauty And The Beast The CW 3 Scripts 0.9/3
19. Emily Owens, MD The CW 3 Scripts 0.5/1
*Most current ratings: a season-to-date average of Live+7 ratings if available and Life+Same Day. Live+7 ratings are currently available through the first two weeks of the season. The last two weeks’ averages are Live+Same Day.