The popular Full House sitcom left ABC in 1995 after eight seasons. Flash forward 14 years later and House star Bob Saget has returned to the world of sitcoms and the alphabet network. Surviving Suburbia has certainly had a rocky journey to primetime but now that it’s here, will it stick around?
Surviving Suburbia revolves around the Pattersons, Steve (Bob Saget) and Anne (Cynthia Stevenson), a normal couple that has been married for 20 years, have two children and live in a typical suburb. Unlike the sitcom dads of the past, Steve has a cynical view of everything around him. Others in the cast include Jared Kusnitz, G. Hannelius, Jere Burns, Dan Cortese, and Lorna Scott.
The sitcom was originally slated to start airing on Sunday nights last Fall, as part of Media Rights Capital’s deal to lease the CW’s Sunday night airtime. During the Summer, MRC made some changes and decided to hold Suburbia until midseason. While that didn’t seem like good news for the sitcom at the time, the delay ultimately turned out to be a good thing. Few people knew or cared about the MRC shows (In Harm’s Way, Valentine, and Easy Money) once they started airing, the shows tanked in the ratings, and the CW network took back Sunday nights.
Early this year, ABC was looking for some inexpensive programming and decided to pick up the series. Then, they gave it the enviable post-Dancing with the Stars timeslot. That stroke of luck gave Suburbia far more exposure than it ever would have gotten on the CW.
Last week, Suburbia debuted to 12.16 million viewers and a 3.2/8 rating/share of the 18-49 demographic. While that seems impressive, it’s less so when you consider that the ratings for its lead-in (the last half hour of Stars) was 21.37 million and a 5.2/12. That means that Suburbia lost 43% of its lead-in in total viewers and 38% in the demo.
Last night, the final half hour of Stars attracted 20.56 million viewers and a 5/12 in the demographic. Suburbia’s numbers were lower than last week with 11.25 million viewers and a 3/7 in the demo. That represents a 44% drop off in both total viewers and those who are 18-49.
If you watch television ratings, this scenario likely sounds a little familiar. Suburbia’s performance is essentially a repeat of last year’s Samantha Who?. This year, Samantha is airing on Thursday nights and has been tanking. Without the Stars lead-in, will Suburbia suffer the same fate?
We’ll find out in May when Stars has completed its run. The sitcom is scheduled to move to Wednesdays at 9pm starting May 27th. The 13 episode season is scheduled to conclude on July 1st.
If all goes as expected and Suburbia’s ratings significantly drop off, it seems doubtful that ABC will order a second season of the sitcom. However, if Suburbia performs well on Wednesday nights and/or the production of new episodes is cost effective, anything can happen.
What do you think? Is the sitcom worth keeping or should it be cancelled?
Image courtesy ABC.