ABC’s ‘Guys’ sitcom beats expectations

Best premiere ratings since 'Spin City'

ABC’s debut of “Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place” was the web’s highest new series premiere since “Spin City” launched in September 1996, and the best series premiere on any network this season, except for NBC’s Thursday night sitcoms “Union Square” and Veronica’s Closet.”

If the sitcom’s strong performance in the Wednesday 9:30 p.m. slot holds up in subsequent weeks, it more than likely will be the final nail in the coffin of ABC’s groundbreaking and controversial comedy “Ellen,” which normally airs in that slot. While ABC was breathing a sigh of relief, Fox was sighing out of frustration. Not only did Fox pass on “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place,” produced by sister 20th Century Fox, but its own midseason series, “Significant Others,” flopped.

But Danny Jacobson’s “Two Guys” is arguably a much better fit for ABC. “Two Guys” rated a first-place 12.3/20 in homes, losing 12% of its “Drew Carey” lead-in, and a first-place 9.7 in adults 18-49, losing 11% of its lead-in.

“Ellen’s” average lead-in loss this season was 21% in homes and 24% in adults 18-49, and “Ellen” hasn’t reached the “Two Guys” retention level since Oct. 13, 1997.

The household rating for “Two Guys” matched the season high for the timeslot, but exceeded “Ellen’s” season average by 40%. Among young adults, “Two Guys” surpassed “Ellen’s” season average by 45%.

“Drew Carey” (14.0/22 homes and 10.9 adults 18-49) also had its highest adults 18-49 rating in the history of the series, propelling ABC to its best Wednesday this season. ABC’s 8:30 p.m. slotholder “Dharma & Greg” (11.4/18 and 8.2) received its highest rating in the timeslot since its debut last fall.

Meanwhile Fox’s drama “Significant Others,” from the creators of “Party of Five,” sunk to a fourth-place 5.1/8 in homes and a third-place 4.1 in adults 18-49, the lowest this season for “Party’s” regular Wednesday 9 p.m. timeslot. Even worse for the web, 18% of the show’s young adult-viewers tuned out for the second half of the series.

“Significant Others” also lost 36% of its adults 18-49 lead-in, while “Party of Five” averaged a 3% increase. Supporters of the show, however, point out that it took “Party of Five” years to reach its current ratings level.

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