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Down a blind ‘Ally’

Fox's repackaged half-hour struggles again

It looks like Fox has a dead-end “Ally” on its Tuesday schedule.

After a disappointing run in the Tuesday 8 p.m. leadoff slot, “Ally,” an innovative half-hour repackaging of the hit “Ally McBeal,” has now flopped in its first try at 8:30. The Dec. 7 “Ally” seg lost 37% of its adults 18-49 lead-in from “That ’70s Show,” down sharply from the average 57% gain Fox experienced in the slot earlier this season when it followed “Ally” with “That ’70s Show.”

Experiment gone wrong

“Ally” is an important primetime experiment that’s gone awry for Fox. Had viewers shown an appetite for these half-hour helpings of warmed-over “McBeal” material, Fox might have found a means of further exploiting hit hours during their net runs while also increasing their value on a syndication market that hungers for half-hours.

“Ally” had also been one of Fox’s more passable rookie performers this fall, with “Action,” “Ryan Caulfield” and “Harsh Realm” all gone, and “Time of Your Life” and “Get Real” both struggling.

Fourth in demos

Tuesday’s “Ally” seg, the series’ first telecast in four weeks, was witnessed by just 5.16 million viewers, and sustained a 2.5 rating, 7 share in adults 18-49. That dropped Fox deep into fourth for the half-hour after a rerun of the sophomore sizzler “That ’70s Show” won the slot the previous week with twice the 18-49 rating (5.0/13).

“Ally’s” woes helped send Fox’s slumping “Party of Five” (5.62 million viewers, 3.0/8 in adults 18-49) to its lowest-ever firstrun numbers the following hour.

Each adults 18-49 rating point reps 1.24 million viewers, 1% of the U.S. total. The share is also a percentage, but measured against only viewers watching TV during the slot involved.

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