Photo Credit: Fox, ABC
The goal of a new TV show: Draw as many viewers as possible in the first few weeks. Once you've got them, you can build on that audience. And if you fail to produce good ratings -- fast! -- don't expect to stick around too long. As we know, the networks are loathe to bankroll a show that nobody's watching!
So which of the new fall TV shows are on top?
Congrats to Fox's New Girl! The lovable Zooey Deschanel has ridden her sitcom's early positive buzz into a ratings win for two weeks in a row. (The Glee lead-in probably didn't hurt.) Fox execs are so impressed, they've picked up the show for a full season.
Several critics predicted that CBS's 2 Broke Girls -- a comedy created by comedian Whitney Cummings -- would be a hit. And they were right: It's one of the highest-rated new sitcoms this season. Now it just has to prove it's worthy of a full season pickup. (Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker worries that the show is already faltering.)
So far, Cummings' other sitcom, Whitney, has attracted fewer viewers than 2 Broke Girls, but enough to be the highest-rated new comedy on NBC. Still, critics have been less enthusiastic about this show, so it will have to build its audience on its own. Despite this, the network picked it up for a full season.
NBC has also ordered a full season of Lorne Michaels' newest venture Up All Night, starring Christina Applegate and Will Arnett. According to EW.com, the show is "off to a good start," and has the potential to "lead to a richer, more satisfying sitcom experience over the long haul."
Fox's The X Factor may not have launched with 20 million Americans glued to their TV's (as Simon Cowell had hoped), but it attracted a healthy 12.5 million viewers. (The Emmy-winning Modern Family beat the new singing competition with 14.5 million.) Since The X Factor viewers more or less stuck around for week two (retaining 12 million viewers), the show is considered a success.
Despite some eviscerating reviews, Suburgatory performed surprisingly well in the ratings its first week. Did viewers like what they saw in ABC's Mean Girls-esque comedy? We'll have to wait and see if they return for more this Wednesday.
And which shows have been axed or are well on their way?
Despite the media hoopla around its premiere, NBC's controversial The Playboy Club has failed to draw enough viewers to be called a hit -- and became the first cancelled new show of the season. The show premiered to low ratings and the third and final episode only managed to attract 3.4 million viewers. Yikes.
Among the lowest-rated debuts was the Rachel Bilson-starring Hart of Dixie, the Sarah Michelle Gellar-starring Ringer, and the Kevin Williamson-helmed, teen witch drama, Secret Circle. But these are all on The CW, a network that doesn't expect to draw the kind of crowds that, say, CBS or Fox attract. They may be granted more time to grow.
That's probably not the case for CBS's How to be a Gentleman, which scored mediocre ratings despite following the mega-hit, Big Bang Theory.
Charlie's Angels was panned by critics from the start. By its second week, viewers were shunning the sexy ABC reboot, too -- ratings dropped by 29 percent.
And the new fall show most likely to be shown the door next? NBC's Free Agents. People may like Hank Azaria (after all, he is the voice of Moe and Apu on The Simpsons!), but not enough to watch his NBC comedy. Only 3 million have tuned in, on average. According to EW.com, the network will likely wait until the Oct. 5 episode airs (at 8:30 p.m. EST) to make any decisions about the show's fate.