Fox renewals favor frosh series

While Fox has hit some ratings potholes this season, the network is out in front of the renewals and cancellations derby to come this spring. Fox showed faith in its two strongest freshman series, giving early second-season renewals to comedy “The Mindy Project” and drama “The Following.”

Fellow comedies from Fox’s Tuesday night lineup “New Girl” and “Raising Hope” were also renewed for third and fourth seasons, respectively.

“Following” pickup was no surprise, given the show’s solid perf. “Mindy Project” pickup was a surprise, given its modest numbers. The renewal is a big win for producer Universal TV and its efforts to broaden its production activity beyond Peacock nets.

Warner Bros. TV’s “Following” bowed strongly in January in the Monday 9 p.m. timeslot, and sees benefits from Live+7 ratings (particularly DVR use), which places the frosh drama in the No. 2 broadcast drama spot this season in 18-49. Fox ordered 15 episodes for its second season, the same order as its first run.

“From the very beginning, we felt Kevin Williamson and Marcos Siega had created a high-quality, edge-of-your-seat drama that could break from the pack, and it is exciting to see the audience responding,” said Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly.

“Mindy Project” debuted in the fall to decent ratings, but the Tuesday night comedy block struggled against its competitors until “Ben and Kate” was nixed from the lineup earlier this year. Since then, “New Girl” and “Mindy Project” saw a rise in ratings, while “Raising Hope” remained a solid performer on the schedule.

“We are so proud of ‘The Mindy Project’ and everyone at the show and Universal TV are grateful to Fox for the continued support,” said Universal TV exec veep Bela Bajaria. “Mindy has a distinct, fresh voice and the hard work of all the writers, actors and crew is responsible for some great comedy.”

“New Girl” currently ranks as the top comedy among femmes 18-34, while “Mindy Project” is the No. 1 frosh laffer within that demo. “New Girl” and “Raising Hope” hail from 20th Century Fox TV.

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