5:00pm PT by Michael O'Connell, Kate Stanhope
Fox Cancels 'The Grinder' and 'Grandfathered'; 'Bordertown' Also Bites It
No amount of critical goodwill could spare The Grinder or Grandfathered. Fox's favored freshman comedies, which concluded their respective runs on Tuesday night with ratings too low to ignore even in the days of multiplatform boosts, have both been canceled. The same goes for Sunday newcomers Bordertown and Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life, which shared the former's soft numbers but not their buzz.
Fox remained committed to Tuesday comedy, adding two series to the block this year in Grandfathered and The Grinder. Both hailing from sister studio 20th Century Fox TV (though Grandfathered was co-produced by ABC Studios), neither did too well in the fall or saw any boost when joined in January by the network's two veteran sitcoms. The rejiggered midseason block, which put the newbies on either side of stable Brooklyn Nine-Nine and after equally steady anchor New Girl, proved them to be much more modest draws.
Season-to-date, Grandfathered had the edge among Fox's new comedies. It averaged a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49 and an audience of 4 million with live-plus-seven-day viewing. The Grinder had an even tougher go in the ratings. Its DVR average this season is a 1.2 rating in the key demo and 3.4 million viewers. And recent episodes have seen its same-day showing linger in the extremely discouraging territory of a 0.6 rating with adults 18-49. That makes it among the lowest-rated scripted series on the Big Four.
Fox did enjoy a surplus of press at the top of the broadcast TV calendar, thanks to the stars of the Grandfathered and The Grinder, respective vehicles for veteran stars John Stamos and Rob Lowe, but even enduring critical appreciation proved insufficient to keep either alive.
The numbers don't lie, but many insiders thought Fox would still find room for at least one of the pair on the 2016-17 lineup. The same cannot be said of the other cancellations. Even the cachet of network golden boy Seth MacFarlane couldn't move the needle for the animated Bordertown, which averaged a 0.9 rating among adults 18-49 with lackluster DVR numbers factored in. The comedy got off to an underwhelming start just days into the new year before it was moved from its cushy post-Family Guy spot to a 7 p.m. slot in March.
Not in Bordertown's favor was the continued success of fellow animated comedies Family Guy, The Simpsons and Bob's Burgers, as well as internal enthusiasm for the live-action/animation hybrid project Son of Zahn from The Last Man on Earth executive producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller. But don't feel too bad for MacFarlane — he is set to star in his first live-action comedy for the network, picked up straight to series for the 2017-18 broadcast season.
Fox showed early interest in Cooper Barrett, ordering seven more episodes of the rookie single-camera comedy months before it premiered. However, once the show notched a weak 1.2 live-plus-same-day rating in the demo despite its plum spot behind The Simpsons, Cooper Barrett's survival chances dropped dramatically. The series, which was then off the air for a month shortly after its debut, averaged a 1.0 rating in a downright dismal live-plus-seven-day showing. Cooper Barrett, produced in-house at 20th TV, was eventually downgraded to an earlier time slot in March and then preempted completely a month later.
The two remaining unaired episodes are being burned off this month.
Another show that's not returning — not that anyone expected it to at this point — is Second Chance. The loose spin on the Frankenstein tale (as a police procedural) was essentially D.O.A. when it premiered at the top of midseason, though Fox did let it finish its 11-episode run on Friday nights.