Fox newcomers "The Grinder" and "Grandfathered" have both been handed full-season orders by the network within the last day and a half.
Which leads to the question: If shows with this low a viewership (barely 3 million, not counting time-delayed) can get a full ride, what does it take to get canceled these days?
To be sure, this has not been a fall season to remember. Many shows are playing a how-low-can-you-go game of limbo, yet still they remain, and are even getting full-season orders.
Why? Because networks believe that value now emerges over time, when those so-called “time-delayed” numbers kick in over days or even weeks.
Because Fox clearly sees an upside with its new comedies, deciding that both shows just might improve when they emerge from the weeds of the cluttered and busy fall season.
Maybe ... or the other possibility is that the network just doesn't have anything else to put in the time periods.
Meanwhile, here's the new season scorecard, five weeks in, with full season predictions of who will stay and who will go.
-- "Rosewood": A full season is on the way ...
-- "Grandfathered": ... got a full season but not sure why. (See above.)
-- "The Grinder": No Rob Lowe magic here, but still earns a full ride. (Both are in the fence-sitter column because while they may have a full season, there's no guarantee they will stay on the schedule through the season either.)
-- "Scream Queens": The show hasn't done all that well in key metrics, but it should go the full season. A second season seems inconceivable at this point.
-- "Minority Report": The viewers here are the actual minority, under 2 million.
-- "Quantico": Though not as flat-out as you may have been led to believe; "Q" does particularly well with playback, which assured its full-season pickup earlier this month.
-- "The Muppets": Gonna go with "winner," even though ABC has yet to commit, and viewers have yet to commit either. But the numbers are stabilizing -- around a 1.4 for young adults -- and no one expected this to carve out huge numbers against "NCIS" (or the World Series). But I'm liking its chances.
-- "Dr. Ken": That's right, haters! The "Ken" is a fence-sitter! But (again) the term is only loosely applied. As a fence-sitter, sort of like Humpty Dumpty, this could easily be a loser too. But I do expect a full-season order.
-- "Blood & Oil": No pulse, no blood, no oil either.
-- "Wicked City": Mostly terrible reviews, and a World Series helped sink this out of the gate.
-- "Life in Pieces": Already full-season, but it got a good tailwind from "The Big Bang Theory." Would this show do well without time period support?
-- "Limitless": Also full-season, and also good tailwind (from "NCIS: NO"). Plus: Wins the time period in total viewers (around 8 million). A full season was ordered just a couple of days ago.
-- "Supergirl": As CBS reminded you, this had the highest launch of any new series this fall. Plus a 3.1 young adult rating, which is almost unheard-of for a CBS primetime series. I expect a full-season order announcement by next Tuesday, at the latest. Consider: Greg Berlanti, the producer here, also has the other top performer of '15, "Blindspot." He has just entered the exclusive Shonda Rhimes Club -- exclusive and lonely. She's been the only member.
-- "Code Black": I had this as a success last week, and it sort of is. But only if it aired on Fox -- for CBS, the numbers may be too modest. Still, it wins its time period (Wednesdays at 10) in total viewers (about 7 million) which should make the difference. I expect a full season order here.
Flat-out loser: None
-- "Blindspot": In some ways, this is the biggest winner of the entire network fall slate so far (we'll see where "Supergirl" goes). Averaging about a 2.5 rating for adults 18-49 makes it a stratospheric performer, while the time-delayed viewership figures add considerable lift to even that. Already full-season.
-- "Heroes Reborn": A true fence-sitter, which registered just a 1.1 rating in young adults last week, but consider -- former highflier "The Blacklist" isn't doing a whole lot better in its Thursday 9 p.m. slot. ("Scandal" easily wins that time period.) I'm not expecting this one back.
-- "The Player": Gone by January, if not sooner, and almost certainly for good, to be replaced by Jennifer Lopez's new cop drama, "Shades of Blue."
-- "Truth Be Told": Truth be told, a complete bust.
-- "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend": CW has a habit of sitting with its sitters, even if the numbers are OK (or mediocre). These numbers are teensy, which is a level below mediocre. Nevertheless, the network probably likes the show (which has a tough Monday time slot) and that counts for a lot -- maybe everything. Nevertheless, I wouldn't count on a full season for "Crazy."