'Ben and Kate,' 'Mindy Project' get more episodes

Fox has given full seasons to new comedies “Ben and Kate” and “The Mindy Project,” the network announced Monday.

“Kate” will get an additional six episodes while “Mindy” gets an additional nine. Fox declined comment on the rationale for the abbreviated order for “Kate,” but sources indicated that the decision was made primarily because the network has another comedy, “Goodwin Games,” likely to step into Fox’s Tuesday comedy block once “Kate” finishes its 19 episodes.

The full-season orders were something of a surprise this early in the season given neither comedy has been a breakthrough for Fox. In the 8:30 p.m. time slot, “Kate” averaged 1.9 million viewers in the 18-49 demographic, and 3.7 million total viewers; the premiere inched up to a 2.2 in 18-49 when live-plus-three days is taken into account.

In the 9:30 p.m. time slot, “Mindy” has fared slightly better with the advantage of “New Girl” as a lead-in. The first two episodes averaged 2.1 in 18-49, with the first inching up to a 2.7 in live-plus-three. Total viewer average is 4.2 million.

“‘Ben and Kate’ and ‘The Mindy Project'” have everything we want to stand for in comedy: smart writing, hugely appealing casts and comedy that feels contemporary and real – which is why we’re confident they will continue to build on what is already an appointment comedy night for young, influential audiences on Tuesdays,” said Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly.

The renewals are certainly a sign that Fox is sticking with its four-comedy block on Tuesday, a priority for Reilly after having taken the risk of moving “Glee” over to Thursdays.

“Kate” is produced by 20th Century Fox TV and Chernin Entertainment, with Fox, Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope and Jake Kasdan as executive producers. “Mindy” is produced by 3 Arts Entertainment in association with Universal Television. The series is created and written by Mindy Kaling, who executive produces with Howard Klein, Matt Warburton, and Michael Spillman.

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