San Francisco Chronicle TV beat writer and critic Tim Goodman is still pissed off at ABC for seemingly killing off one of his favorite shows (Better Off Ted) with the way it scheduled it. When it comes to Ted, there’s definitely room for argument that ABC’s scheduling executives botched it. At least if ABC ever really saw Ted as anything other than cannon fodder for the schedule to begin with.
But with FlashForward? Really!?
“So was it the show, or was it the scheduling? Both, assuredly, but it’s never a good idea to yank a show off the air unless you have the home phone number of everybody who watched in the first place,” writes Goodman. Adding, “People need reminders. The television industry is not good at reminders.”
The show, assuredly. The scheduling? Sorry, but there’s not any factual basis for making such assurances.
Yes, after huge promotion all summer long, the show did premiere to big numbers — a 4.0 in the adults 18-49 demo and 12.47 million viewers. Indeed, it returned after a 3+ month hiatus to a series low with a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49 and last Thursday it dropped to another series low with a 1.8 rating.
Any assurances that scheduling played a role are just silly though. By the time of its last episode before the lengthy hiatus on December 3, it scored a 2.1 rating with adults 18-49 and just over 7 million viewers. It had already lost nearly half its viewers before the lengthy break between new episodes.
Had ABC aired it the next two weeks on December 10, and December 17 the ratings likely would have very close to the ratings it got the last two weeks after the long hiatus.
Update: Here’s a chart of FlashForward ratings, you can decide for yourself when the big drop happened. Note that the X-axis dates are for the Sunday following the Thursday the episode aired. The episode the week of 12/13 was a repeat all others are originals.