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CBS Breaks Up With Partners

Network cancels low-rated Monday comedy after six episodes

Partners cast members David Krumholtz (l.) and Michael Urie | Photo: Matt Kennedy/CBS

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The third new series of the 2012-13 broadcast TV season has been given a pink slip, as CBS today canceled its freshman comedy Partners.

Over the course of six episodes—the show was pre-empted by the Oct. 22 presidential debate and a repeat aired on the night Hurricane Sandy slammed into the New York/New Jersey area—Partners averaged 5.88 million total viewers and a 2.1 rating among adults 18-49.

Thanks in large part to its enviable positioning within CBS’ Monday night comedy lineup, Partners commanded one of the highest spot rates among the season’s nine new sitcoms. Clients who bought time in the show during the spring upfront agreed to pay an average $165,000 per 30-second spot—on par with what investors in Fox’s The Mindy Project shelled out. 

Created by Will & Grace alumni David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, Partners premiered Sept. 24 to dangerously low ratings—6.56 million viewers and a 2.4 in the 18-49 demo. And while the show’s deliveries improved slightly in its fourth installment, it appeared to have a deleterious impact on lead-out sophomore comedy 2 Broke Girls.

After establishing itself as last season’s top-rated new series, 2 Broke Girls slipped in its new Monday 9 p.m. time slot. Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Season 1 of 2BG averaged 9.88 million viewers and a hearty 3.7 in the demo; through six episodes, the second season is averaging 9.33 million viewers and a 3.4 in the demo.

Partners’ demise marks the first notable failure in the 8:30 p.m. time slot since CBS bowed $#*! My Dad Says in 2010. Another show that should have fared much better than it actually did in the launch-pad slot was The Class (2006-07). Featuring a stellar ensemble cast that included the likes of Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Lizzy Caplan, Jason Ritter, Jon Bernthal and Lucy Punch, The Class averaged 8.2 million viewers and a 2.9 in the demo.

Among the subsequent CBS launches that were particularly successful in the half hour are: The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and 2 Broke Girls.

As a result of the cancelation, CBS will air repeats of Partners beginning next Monday (Nov. 19). The long-running comedy Rules of Engagement is likely to fill the gap between the end of the calendar year and whenever CBS decides to premiere the midseason effort Friend Me.

To date, CBS has canceled two of its four new fall series, having whacked the Friday night drama Made in Jersey after just two episodes. The network has given full-season orders to two other new dramas (Vegas and Elementary).

Thus far, only three new series have been axed. NBC’s Animal Practice was put to sleep in late October after its ratings fell to an unsustainable 1.2 in the demo. Meanwhile, 12 newbies have been given full-season orders, a roster that includes the aforementioned CBS series as well as Revolution, Go On, The New Normal, Chicago Fire (NBC); The Mindy Project, Ben and Kate (Fox); Nashville, The Neighbors (ABC); and Arrow, Beauty and the Beast (The CW).

While it got the hook, Partners is hardly the biggest comedy bust in the class of 2012-13. The Nov. 13 episode of Ben and Kate drew just 2.39 million viewers and a 1.1 in the demo, while Guys With Kids slumped to 3.91 million viewers and a 1.3 rating the following night.