Last spring, ABC renewed venerable comedy Scrubs and newbie Better Off Ted, despite their low ratings. Now that they’re back, the network is in a hurry to get rid of them.
Scrubs follows hospital life as seen through the eyes of Dr. J.D. Dorian (Zach Braff). After having left Sacred Heart last season, he’s returned to help teach a new crop of med students. Others in the current cast include Donald Faison, John C. McGinley, Ken Jenkins, Sarah Chalke, Eliza Coupe, Kerry Bishe, Michael Mosley, and Dave Franco.
Better Off Ted follows Ted Crisp (Jay Harrington) and the other employees at Veridian Dynamics, a heartless technology company. The rest of the cast includes Andrea Anders, Jonathan Slavin, Malcolm Barrett, and Portia de Rossi.
Based simply on the ratings, neither ABC sitcom should have been renewed last season. Scrubs had dwindled to an average of 4.97 million viewers and a 2.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic. It was ultimately saved because ABC’s production studio produces the show and another season would bring more money in syndication.
Last May, Better Off Ted had only aired half of its completed episodes and was averaging a disappointing 1.76 rating and 4.39 million. Though the ratings were quite low, ABC decided to bring the sitcom back for another season. The network programmers supposedly liked the pairing of Ted and Scrubs and hoped that the ratings would improve. When the network began airing the rest of Ted’s first season during the summer, the ratings dropped much further, to an average of 0.74 in the demo and 2.09 million viewers.
The sitcoms have now both returned for the 2009-10 schedule and the ratings are still terrible. Scrubs kicked off this season with a low 2.0 rating in the demo and only 4.5 million viewers. The numbers have dropped since then and last Tuesday’s episode brought in a 1.8 rating and 4.26 million.
Ted debuted with a 1.5 in the demo and 3.82 million. Last week’s installment attracted just a 1.3 and 3.18 million.
To little surprise, ABC has decided to burn off the unaired episodes of both series as quickly as possible. Single installments of each sitcom will air tomorrow night and on the 29th. On New Year’s Day, two episodes of Ted and one of Scrubs will follow the Rose Bowl Game. Then, beginning on January 5th, two installments of each sitcom will run on Tuesday nights. By the end of the month, both sitcoms are expected to have run through their full 13 episode orders.
While the network hasn’t indicated that either series has been cancelled, the decision to burn through the seasons in 60 days certainly isn’t a vote of confidence. Neither Scrubs nor Ted is expected to return, especially in light of the much better performance from newcomers Modern Family and Cougar Town.
What do you think? Do you think Better Off Ted and Scrubs will be cancelled? Will you be sorry to see either one end?
Image courtesy ABC.