Fox Just About Cancels Ben and Kate and Its Tuesday Comedy Block

By Tim Surette

Jan 23, 2013

Welcome to the cruel business of network television, Maggie Elizabeth Jones! We've seen the last of her adorable little face on TV for at least a little while, as Fox has pulled freshman comedy Ben and Kate from its schedule, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY! No one wants to say it—Fox's press release only says that the network is revising it's Tuesday lineup—but I will: The show is canceled.

Also killed: Fox's attempt to establish a two-hour comedy block, as Ben and Kate will be replaced by new episodes of Raising Hope until March 3, when Season 11 of Hell's Kitchen takes over the 8pm hour. That means Fox is scooting Raising Hope out the door with back-to-back episodes, but its sending this season out on a high note with a one-hour finale in a special slot after the March 28 edition of American Idol. In the 9pm hour, awkward and sorta hot women can relax, as New Girl and The Mindy Project won't see any changes.

Fox had high hopes for its Tuesday comedy block anchored by last year's hit New Girl, but if you have a really fancy parking spot on the Fox studio lot you have to be scratching your head right now. In its first season, New Girl premiered to more than 10 million viewers before petering out to more than 5.5 million in its Season 1 finale. And though last night's episode topped 4 million viewers, the previous two hit back-to-back series lows, bottoming out at 3.65 million viewers. Last night's episode did win its time period in the adult demo with a 2.1 rating, however it was against a repeat of NCIS: Los Angeles.

With New Girl declining, the anticipated launches of The Mindy Project and Ben and Kate suffered and their numbers have been disappointing all season. Last night's episode of Ben and Kate rang up a CW-ian 1.2 rating and 2.64 million viewers, and The Mindy Project did only slightly better, with a 1.5 and 2.99 million. However, Mindy is a lot safer due to its creator and star Mindy Kaling, because Fox doesn't want to tarnish a relationship with a hot property. Fox could have used the opportunity to give its midseason comedy The Goodwin Games a shot, but so far the network is quiet on that front. Given the way this experiment with comedy has gone, Fox might want to stick with celebrity diving shows.

Coming into this season, Tuesday was plump with comedy, with NBC, ABC, and Fox all airing at least an hour's worth of laughs (half-an-hour for NBC because of The New Normal, BOOM gotcha Ryan Murphy!). But the numbers for all of the shows have been down, and just yesterday, ABC pretty much canceled Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23. I guess people just don't have that much laughter in them for one night.

Goodbye, Ben and Kate, the cutest show that ever cuted on TV. And goodbye Ben's stammering, Kate's "Awwww me so adorable!," BJ's sass, and Tommy's whatever it is he did. But I'll miss you most of all, Maddie! Canceling this is like taking a hammer to a baby seal's face and not stopping until it comes out the other side. I mean come on! Look at this face!

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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  • ThePiquedGeek Jan 31, 2013

    It was earlier reported that Fox ordered 6 more episodes. Does the aired 13 episodes include those, or did they make 19 episodes for season 1 and we can hope Fox will burn them off here and there between now and the end of summer?

  • WavSlave Jan 29, 2013

    Of Fox's two freshman comedies on Tuesday, I liked B&K; far more than The Mindy Project. Don't get me wrong, I *want* to like TMP, but it just can't seem to find its focus (yet?). I realize this can take some time to accomplish, but with B&K; it was pretty easy to get who all the characters were right off the bat. I didn't find it to be overly cute or annoying in any way. And I never once dozed off during it as I have during several airings of TMP.

    Why the fairly flat New Girl turned out to be the "phenomenon" that it was will always baffle me. Despite it rapidly improving from a weak start, it still (IMO) has never warranted the praise and adulation it's gotten. $0.02.

  • dragon22a Jan 28, 2013

    I love that Fox is worried about tarnishing a relationship with Mindy Kaling, whose show is horrible and the only awards she has really won has been for ensemble on the Office.

    Meanwhile, Fox is more than willing to alienate Nat Faxon, who won an Oscar for writing and is actually a decent actor.

    Not to mention alienating Dakota Johnson who, besides being a good actor and quite beautiful, is the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, two respected hollywood actors, and is the granddaughter of Tippi Hedren, a legend in the business. And one cannot tell me that Dakota Johnson having a show on Fox did not help in getting Griffith and Hedren to appear on Raising Hope this season.

    This is a poor business decision by Fox. I know that the actors will land somewhere but Ben and Kate had a great cast and the storylines were starting to pick up. At the very least, Fox should have finished the order that they placed and allowed the series to end with some closure. Instead they stop production with 3 episodes unshot.

  • Svanehjerte Jan 28, 2013

    Also, I am wondering. How do they save money by cancelling shows only to make new shows that will also get cancelled? What is the point? It will only piss off more people, making them not want to tune in on new shows in the first place.

  • Svanehjerte Jan 28, 2013

    Why do they cancel everything that's good and at least have some humor - like Raising Hope! It is the best sitcom along with The Middle and Suburgatory. Why don't they cancel the awful crap New Girl or Mindy Project. You people got awful taste.

  • Svanehjerte Jan 28, 2013

    Why do people not find Raising Hope fun anymore? Do they expect deep, meaningful plots in sitcoms or something? I expect likable characters and a few laughs. I don't see how they are repeating themselves. Each episode got far more clever writing than most sitcoms do.

  • irehawk20 Jan 25, 2013

    Who would want to watch both "Raising Hope" and "Ben And Kate" at all? They are both horrible! I am glad this show is going to get axed this upcoming May! But "Raising Hope" needs to get axed also!!!

    So keep both "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" for the next season, please! Thank you.

  • mrjimmyjames Jan 25, 2013

    Sounds like the bubble has burst on the annoying "aren't we so cute and adorable" sitcoms fad. For every person who loves these type of comedies there's always those who hate them; I guess that's why they're lowly rated. A lot of people find Zooey to be grating. Not sure why Fox ever created a two hour comedy block based around New Girl to begin with, considering I too noticed it finished last season with a huge decline. Bad idea. Fox moved too quickly to capitalize on something they didn't realize wasn't there.

  • suze-y Jan 24, 2013

    Both Ben and Kate rubbed me the wrong way, so I never watched it past the first few episodes. BJ and Tommy were great, I hope they can find something else. The little girl was SUPER cute, but with two annoying leads, I couldn't get into it.

  • LiseLotteDive Jan 27, 2013

    I liked it up until Kate got the boyfriend and Ben tried to end the relationship, which to me felt sooooooo wrong and embarrasing...and I stopped watching.

  • Notusedname Jan 24, 2013

    I don't hope Raising Hope will be canceled, to me it is the reason for Fox's comedy night, and when Ben and Kate is canceled too there will be nothing left worth watching, but this is just opinion. I am still hoping for fans of New Girl and The Mindy Project that they stick around, but you can count me out these shows are so annoying that i like to punch them in there faces.

  • tv_gonzo Jan 24, 2013

    I liked the show, but Ben annoyed me too often. If the show would have been "Kate" and focusing more on the day to day live of her i would have liked it even more.

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