Tonight marks the fourth season finale of Everybody Hates Chris. What are the chances that the CW sitcom will return for year five?
Everybody Hates Chris is inspired by the teenage experiences of Chris Rock and narrated by the comedian. The sitcom follows Chris (Tyler James Williams), an average kid who’s surrounded by a bunch of crazy characters who, from his point of view, don’t seem to like him very much. Others in the cast include Vincent Martella, Terry Crews, Tequan Richmond, Tichina Arnold, Imani Hakim, Jacqueline Mazarella, Travis T. Flory, Kevontay Jackson, Ernest Thomas, Jeris Poindexter, Jackee Harry, Michael Estime, Antonio Fargas, Blake Hightower, and Todd Bridges.
The sitcom began on the old UPN network in September 2005. In year one, the sitcom averaged 4.3 million viewers and a 1.7/5 rating/share of the coveted 18-49 demographic. While that may not sound like much, it was one of the network’s most successful shows, just a few steps below America’s Next Top Model.
In Chris’ sophomore year, its first on the CW network, viewership dropped to 2.7 million and a 1.1/3 in the demo. That was a significant hit, placing it just about soon-to-be cancelled Veronica Mars.
During the 2008 – 2009 season, when the industry was brought to a standstill by the writers strike, Chris was one of the few shows that completed its entire 22 episode season in advance. Despite being one of the few shows to produce a full 22 episode season, the ratings were worse. Viewership dropped to an average of 2.33 million and just a .8 rating.
When the show was renewed last season, CW President Dawn Ostroff, said that Chris had “consistently proven itself to be one of the best comedies on television… This is a show we want viewers to associate with the CW.”
That was a nice sentiment but the network sent the sitcom to a little-watched Friday night timeslot. To no surprise, viewership dropped even lower, to an average of 1.69 million viewers and a 0.6/2 rating/share.
So, viewership has dropped significantly in the past couple years and the network is now targeting its programming almost exclusively towards young women. The CW is essentially giving up on sitcoms and will have only 10 hours of primetime to fill next season. Unlike fellow “on the bubble” sitcom The Game, Chris already has 88 episodes which is just enough for syndication.
Rock decided to make it even easier for the programming execs by making the season finale a fitting end to the series. In the episode, Chris is faced with repeating the 10th grade so he decides to drop out and take the G.E.D. test instead. Williams says, “An envelope arrives (with his test results), but before we find out the results, we fade to black. If it ends here, we ended it the right way.”
Will Chris be back next season? It looks very doubtful but we’ll know for sure on May 21st when the network holds its advertiser upfront presentation.
What do you think? Should the sitcom come back or is it time to go?
Image courtesy CW.