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Fox is busy working out the kinks in its new fall lineup. While some of the network’s new shows are doing quite well, one in particular has not managed to earn the love of a large audience. Thanks to its ratings woes, Fox announced over the weekend that its new Sunday night comedy, Mulaney, has been downsized from 16 to 13 episodes. The network wrapped production on the series before episode 14 could start filming.
Usually when a new show gets its episode order cut, that doesn’t bode particularly well for the series. However, Fox definitely doesn’t seem ready to pull the plug on Mulaney just yet. The show will still air on Sunday nights in its regular timeslot following Sunday night veteran Family Guy. THR is reporting the network still hopes that Mulaney’s audience can be built up enough that Sunday Funday maintains a nice balance of animated and live action programming.
Interestingly, Mulaney follows a format that has garnered comparisons to Seinfeld thanks to its apartment set up and the fact that John Mulaney actually does standup on the show. Seinfeld notoriously wasn’t a very hot property early on but was able to build a huge audience in time for NBC. Unfortunately, Mulaney landed at Fox, a network that is notorious for canceling first season shows if the ratings aren’t working out. (Remember last year’s Almost Human debacle, not to mention Firefly's cancelation? The list goes on and on.)
The one pro for Mulaney is that obviously Fox hopes the series will work out. If Fox didn’t, the network could have simply pulled Mulaney from the Sunday night lineup and shuffled the schedule around to accommodate a two-hour comedy block, as we predicted might happen earlier this fall. Keeping Mulaney in the cushy slot following Family Guy may allow the audience to grow. However, since it premiered to a 1.0 rating in the 18-49 demographic, it still has a long way to go.
Right now, Fox is dealing with the headaches related to airing baseball, and I’m sure the network won’t make any brash decisions until it gets its schedule back in order and gives its new shows a little room to grow in the ratings. If Mulaney does get cancelled, Fox already has a contingency plan. The network has Bordertown, Weird Loners and The Last Man on Earth scheduled for midseason and could totally shuffle its schedule around to make room for one of those shows on Sunday nights if needed.
We’ll let you know if Mulaney manages to shake out its kinks or lands itself on the network chopping block.