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CBS Freezes Out ‘How to Be a Gentleman’

Frosh comedy relegated to Saturday night
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CBS has effectively canceled its freshman comedy How to Be a Gentleman, exiling the show to Saturday night and handing its plum post-Big Bang Theory slot to the veteran sitcom Rules of Engagement.

Production on the homegrown Gentleman was halted Friday. The remaining seven episodes will be burned off in the Saturday 8 p.m. time slot beginning Oct. 15.

The move to banish Gentleman to its new slot makes it the fourth new series of the 2011-12 season to be killed off. NBC last week pulled the plug on The Playboy Club and Free Agents, while The CW offed its reality strip H8R.

How to Be a Gentleman premiered Sept. 29 to 8.98 million total viewers and a 2.7 rating among adults 18-49. While that would have Gentleman the second most-watched new series if it were on NBC, the loss of 40 percent of its Big Bang lead-in on CBS was cause for immediate concern.

Things went from bad to worse in the show’s second time at the plate, as Gentleman averaged 7.58 million viewers and a 2.5 rating. That represented a 46 percent drop-off from Big Bang’s 13.9 million viewers and 4.5 rating.

Gentleman also suffered in comparison to the year-ago occupant of the Thursday 8:30 p.m. slot. In its second broadcast, the Twitter feed-cum-sitcom $#*! My Dad Says delivered 9.77 million viewers and a 2.9 rating in the demo.

The bloodletting isn’t likely to stop with Gentleman. On Thursday, ABC’s Charlie’s Angels stumbled to 5.93 million viewers and a 1.2 rating, tying The CW’s Vampire Diaries in the demo. Given those numbers and the expensive promotional push behind the show, the Angels reboot is unlikely to survive another week.

Also up in the air is ABC’s sky drama Pan Am, which on Sunday night plummeted another 27 percent in the demo to a 1.4 rating and delivered just 6.42 million viewers. Three weeks into its itinerary, the period piece is now pacing down 42 percent from its premiere delivery of 11.1 million viewers, while the demo has dropped 55 percent from a 3.1 rating in the Sept. 25 series premiere.

NBC could strip the Maria Bello cop drama Prime Suspect of its badge, as the remake of the classic Helen Mirren procedural is arguably one of the biggest disappointments of the new season. Since bowing Sept. 22 to just 6.05 million viewers and a 1.8 rating, Prime Suspect has dropped to 5.04 million viewers and a 1.5 rating, trailing CBS’ The Mentalist (13.2 million/2.7) and ABC’s Private Practice (6.06 million/2.1).

Because expectations for Friday nights are always low, CBS’ supernatural drama A Gifted Man should live to see November sweeps. Nielsen's preliminary live-plus-same-day data shows the Patrick Wilson vehicle won its time slot on reach, drawing 7.5 million viewers Oct. 7 at 8 p.m., and finished second in the demo with a 1.2 rating, trailing Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares (1.5).