survivingjackIf launching drama series in midseason is hard, launching comedy series in midseason is daunting. Fox’s Surviving Jack was the latest example, debuting to a 1.3 in 18-49 and 5.1 million viewers at 9:30 PM last night despite mostly positive reviews based on the standout performance of star Chris Meloni. Surviving Jack followed American Idol (1.9), which, in its switch to half-hour result shows, tied last week’s series low. For comparison, at 8 PM, with no lead-in and scathing reviews, Fox’s fall comedy Dads premiered to a 2.1 fast national demo rating in September. American Idol and The X Factor have never been compatible lead-ins for comedies. The previous comedy series to launch behind Idol was the 2011 Breaking In, which opened with a 3.5 demo rating but on a 7.3 Idol 18-49 lead-in (Yes, Idol was pulling in that kind of numbers only three years ago) for a 48% retention. Surviving Jack‘s was 68%. At 8 PM, Hell’s Kitchen (1.8) was up a tenth from last week’s fast national.

More food for thought for NBC brass who had been mulling alternative comedies for Thursday’s struggling comedy block. Last night, back-to-back encores of Hollywood Game Night delivered a 1.1 and 1.2 in 18-49, on par with what Community and Parks And Recreation originals have been delivering in the hour. At 10 PM, a new Parenthood (1.4) perked up 8% to log its highest rating since October as it has been on the rise with HGN as lead-in.

Also posting a second consecutive week of gains were ABC’s Shonda Rhimes dramas. Grey’s Anatomy (2.5) was up 4% with a Christina-centered episode as the show is preparing to send off co-star Sandra Oh, while Scandal (3.1) was up 7%. At 8 PM, Once Upon A Time In Wonderland (0.9) was up a tenth.

2 years
Honestly, the Goldbergs does it a billion times better with more heart. Fox is late to the...
2 years
"Surviving Jack" wasn't perfect, but it was good. Far better than most sitcoms premiering on network television...
2 years
Turned it off halfway through. Smutty humor is not smart humor. Seemed desperate. When is Fatrick coming...

CBS is poised to win the night with NCAA basketball (2.5 in 18-49 in the fast nationals, up 9% from the corresponding numbers last year). The CW’s Vampire Diaries (0.7) somewhat inexplicably tumbled 36% to a series low, while Reign (0.6) retreated after a spike last Thursday, down 14%.