NBC Clips ‘Free Agents’

Comedy is second new series to get the ax

NBC has canceled its new Wednesday night comedy, Free Agents. In its four-week run leading out of the modest hit Up All Night, the Hank Azaria sitcom never found a steady audience.

The decision to pull the plug on Free Agents came in the wake of the show’s second consecutive 1.0 rating in the all-important 18-49 demo. Last night’s episode delivered just 3.28 million total viewers, according to Nielsen’s preliminary live-plus-same-day ratings data.

Free Agents premiered on Sept. 14 in a special 10:30 p.m. time slot, drawing 6.12 million total viewers and a 2.1 in the demo. Upon moving to its regular 8:30 p.m. slot, the comedy went into free fall, drawing 3.88 million viewers and a 1.3 rating on Sept. 21.

Hours before Free Agents went live on the East Coast, Azaria took to Twitter to encourage fans to tune in: “Okay it’s do or die time for my show Free Agents—we need eyeballs tonight at 8:30 on NBC!! Watch tonight or we may go away…”

While Free Agents was sent off to a farm upstate, its erstwhile Wednesday night partner showed off a little baby bump. Up All Night grew a 10th of a ratings point to 2.2 and improved 6 percent from the prior week with 5.65 million total viewers.

Earlier this week, NBC yanked The Playboy Club, making the drama the first new series of 2011-12 to get the hook. On the same day the Peacock announced the cancelation, it ordered full-season runs for Up All Night and the new Thursday night comedy Whitney.

NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt may have a few more pink slips to hand out before Columbus Day, as the Thursday night drama Prime Suspect is underperforming and sophomore strip Harry’s Law looks terminal. Last week, Prime Suspect drew 5.69 million viewers and a 1.5 rating in the demo. Leading out of Free Agents at 9 p.m., Harry’s Law last night drew a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49.

It was a mixed bag for the three other new Wednesday night efforts, as Fox’s The X Factor held steady with 11.7 million viewers and a 4 rating/11 share. While the competition series handily won its 9 p.m. time slot, deliveries are a far cry from the 20 million viewers host Simon Cowell said he’d drum up before the season began.

ABC’s new comedy Suburgatory slipped 9 percent to a 3.0 rating in the demo, drawing 9.1 million viewers in its second time out of the gate. At 10 p.m., the network’s pulpy drama Revenge fell another 7 percent, notching a 2.5 rating in the demo.

Modern Family once again won the night, averaging 13.1 million viewers and a whopping 5.6 rating/14 share at 9 p.m.

CBS won the night on reach, with an average delivery of 11.9 million total viewers on the night. Fox won the demo with a 3.5 rating/10 share. Spanish-language net Univision edged NBC among the 18-49 set, averaging a 1.7/4 to the Peacock’s 1.6/4.