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

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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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