Alibi V.23 No.43 • Oct 23-29, 2014 

Idiot Box

TV Dead Pool

Which new shows are dead men walking?

“Manhattan Love Story”

Halloween is fast approaching, and it’s hard to believe, but we have yet to see a single killing on the fall TV schedule. What with all the cop shows on TV now, fictional corpses aren’t hard to come by. But we’re weeks into the fall TV season, and network executives haven’t killed off a single underperforming series. Sounds like it’s time for another TV dead pool! Gather your friends, throw in some money, and predict which of the new fall shows will be the first on the chopping block.

ABC—Ratings for Tuesday night’s social media sitcom “Selfie” aren’t exactly OMG. But they’re just pitiful for that show’s following act, “Manhattan Love Story.” It debuted with a 1.5 rating (that’s a mere 1.5 percent of all TVs in use)—and it lost 40 percent of that audience the very next week. It’s in serious mortal peril. The sci-fi/supernatural, crime-solving series “Forever” didn’t start out very strong, but it’s shown some growth among total viewers and has been beating CBS’ “Under the Dome.” It might survive. But probably not forever.

NBC—NBC hasn’t had a hit Thursday night sitcom in a dog’s age. This season’s top flop is the rom-com “A to Z.” Ratings are hovering at 1.0 in the 18-49 demo. Lower than that and you might as well be on basic cable. Following close behind its exit will likely be the much-touted, little-appreciated “Bad Judge” with Kate Walsh. Wednesday night’s “The Mysteries of Laura” is one of the worst-reviewed shows of the new season. But it debuted with solid numbers. Even though it’s been losing viewers each week, the numbers still aren’t as low as some of the other shows in the danger zone.

CBS—This juggernaut network only added a handful of new dramas (“Stalker,” “Scorpion” and “NCIS: New Orleans”) to its already solid lineup. “Scorpion” is a laughable attempt at a high-tech action series, but the ratings are sky-high. If CBS had to cancel anything, it would be “Stalker”—but even its ratings are consistent, week to week.

FOX—Based on ratings and reviews, two shows are close to death. The murder mystery “Gracepoint” starring David Tennant and the sitcom “Mulaney” starring standup comic John Mulaney are the network’s weakest spots. FOX had high hopes for both. “Mulaney” was supposed to be the next “Seinfeld,” and “Gracepoint” was a remake of the popular British series “Broadchurch.” FOX has had a rough time attracting viewers to the live-action shows in its Sunday night “Animation Domination” lineup, and “Mulaney” isn’t helping. “Gracepoint” has already been termed a “limited series.” That means it has fewer episodes than the normal 22 per season. But the network would certainly have brought it back for a second short season if it had performed well. It hasn’t. So, given that it wraps up in only 10 episodes, is it likely FOX will pull it early? Maybe. ABC yanked its limited series “The Assets” earlier this year. It all depends on what FOX has got in the pipeline for midseason.

The CW—There’s been one new drama (“The Flash”) and one new comedy (“Jane the Virgin”). “The Flash” is a big hit teamed with the network’s other superhero drama “Arrow.” And “Jane The Virgin” gave the mini-network its biggest Monday ratings in nearly three years. Looks like we’ll have to wait until midseason (“The Messengers”? “iZombie”?) for a possible cancellation.