You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

After nice starts, comedies await ‘Idol’

CBS' 'Rob' and NBC's 'Chelsea' must face Fox giant in week 2

In a season that has seen the half-hour comedy dominate primetime, two more half-hours opened to promising numbers last week. But keeping that early momentum may prove difficult.

CBS’ Rob Schneider comedy “Rob” and NBC’s Chelsea Handler skein “Are You There, Chelsea,” both of which exceeded expectations with their premieres, will now have to do battle with Fox’s “American Idol,” which is set to disrupt viewing patterns like it does every year at this time.

When they scheduled their midseason comedies last year, both CBS and NBC thought their shows would have two weeks to establish themselves before “Idol” bowed, but Fox moved up the start date of its megahit to this week — meaning the new comedies will have to work hard to hold onto viewers.

Still, neither CBS nor NBC could have asked for better bows for their laffers.

On Wednesday, according to Nielsen, “Are You There, Chelsea” averaged a 2.3 rating/6 share in adults 18-49 and 6.18 million viewers overall in the 8:30 p.m. half-hour — building on its lead-in from “Whitney” on its new night (2.0/6, 5.79m) and giving NBC its best regular, in-season score in the timeslot in about a year.

While not a great number, the 2.3 demo score is the second best of NBC’s six comedies last week (behind “The Office”) and gives the network something to build on. As for “Whitney,” it outpeformed the last five episodes of “Up All Night” to air in Wednesday’s leadoff hour.

One night later, CBS opened the night with huge numbers for “The Big Bang Theory” (5.3/15 in 18-49, 16.13m), which will finish as the week’s No. 1 live-action program in 18-49. And “Rob” retained a good 77% chunk of that lead-in (4.1/11, 13.47m), rating as the night’s No. 2 program in 18-49 and faring better than any show coming out of “Big Bang” since it moved to Thursday in September 2010 (“Bleep My Dad Says,” “Rules of Engagement” and “How to Be a Gentleman”).

Fox’s Thursday drama “The Finder,” meanwhile, should benefit from the return of “Idol,” which it will follow.

In its bow last week, the “Bones” spinoff settled for a 1.7/4 in 18-49 and 5.5 million viewers in the 9 o’clock hour — last among the Big Four and well behind dramas “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC (3.8/10, 10.71m) and “Person of Interest” on CBS (series-best 3.2/8, 14.86m).

In the same hour, NBC’s “Up All Night” had a sluggish start in the 9:30 slot (2.0/5, 4.24m) behind “The Office” (2.9/7, 5.90m). Earlier, the returning “30 Rock” kicked off the night modestly (1.8/5, 4.47m), faring slightly better than “Community” in the timeslot.And closing the night, it was slow going for the Peacock’s “The Firm” (1.0/3, 4.23m), which placed fifth in 18-49 among English-language networks and fared no better than recent slot occupant “Prime Suspect,” which has been canceled.

More TV

  • DRG Boards Sales on Scandi Sci-Fi

    DRG Boards Sales on Scandi Sci-Fi Mystery Series ‘The White Wall’

    Scandinavian sci-fi series “The White Wall” is coming to the international market, starting at NATPE, after DRG picked up international rights to the upcoming project. Finland’s Fire Monkey and Nice Drama, part of the Nordic Entertainment Group, are making “The White Wall” for Swedish pubcaster SVT and its Finnish counterpart, YLE. It will feature a [...]

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

  • R. KellyR. Kelly in concert at

    'Surviving R. Kelly' Producers on the Lifetime Doc's Ripple Effect

    The ripple effect of “Surviving R. Kelly” continues to widen more than a week after the documentary aired on Lifetime, renewing public interest — and outrage — over the litany of sexual abuse allegations against the R&B artist. Lady Gaga and Phoenix have apologized for working with him. Chance the Rapper and other artists are said to [...]

  • Yellowstone

    Viacom Lays Off Paramount Network Staffers Amid Reorganization (EXCLUSIVE)

    Viacom has laid off a number of staffers in its entertainment group, with the majority of the affected employees hailing from Paramount Network, Variety has learned exclusively. A Viacom spokesperson declined to comment. But a source with knowledge of the situation that the number of affected employees was fewer than 20, or less than 2% of [...]

  • The Last OG

    TV News Roundup: 'Last O.G.' Sets Season 2 Premiere Date on TBS

    In today’s TV News Roundup, “The Last O.G.” announces its Season 2 return date and Variety has the exclusive first look at Fox’s new legal drama “Proven Innocent.” FIRST LOOKS Netflix has announced its new limited series “Black Earth Rising” will launch on Jan. 25. The contemporary thriller series stars Michaela Coel as Kate Ashby, a Rwandan girl [...]

  • Matt Walsh

    'Veep' Star Matt Walsh to Lead ABC Comedy Pilot 'Happy Accident'

    Matt Walsh has been tapped for a lead role in the upcoming ABC single-camera comedy pilot “Happy Accident.” In the series, two Pittsburgh families – a father (Walsh) with three adult daughters, and a hotel lounge singer with her med student son – are forced together after a decades-old secret is revealed. Walsh currently stars in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content