According to the Nielsen television ratings, new FOX comedies The Mindy Project and Ben And Kate suffered a weak start to their debut seasons and continued to bleed viewers in Week 2. In a vote of confidence from the network today, both series have been rewarded with back orders for more episodes.
Recently, the executives at FOX had promised to be patient while building up the network's fledgling Tuesday night block of comedy. Anchored by Zooey Deschanel's New Girl, the block also includes Raising Hope, which made its third season premiere this past week to much lower numbers than last year. In its sophomore season, New Girl has remained strong in the all-important 18-49 demographic, but FOX's two freshman comedies have not fared so well.
A former writer and cast member of NBC's The Office, Mindy Kaling is starring for the first time in a project she created herself. Because it follows New Girl, The Mindy Project has attracted higher ratings than Ben And Kate and was granted a full-season order for nine additional episodes.
Created and written by screenwriter Dana Fox (Couples Retreat, What Happens In Vegas), Ben And Kate is based on Fox's real-life relationship with her older brother. Due to Fox's pregnancy, the series received an order for only six more episodes to complete its first season. Ben And Kate recently changed showrunners as well, with executive producers Garrett Donovan and Neil Goldman exiting and Gail Lerner signing on to lend senior-level support.
In a statement referring to the female-centric comedy block he has previously called the network's "Fempire," FOX chairman Kevin Reilly said, "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."
Can't say I liked Ben And Kate, but what I've seen of The Mindy Project looks pretty good. TVRage's very own Adam J. Langton had a more judicious opinion of Ben And Kate in his review, while Sam McPherson showered high praise upon Mindy's Project. Are you one of those viewers who has stuck with FOX's new Tuesday night comedies?