Fox Renews The Following, New Girl, Mindy Project, Raising Hope

Early pickups for top drama performer, Tuesday night comedies

Fox on Monday announced it has renewed four scripted series for 2013-14, committing to new seasons of The Following, New Girl, The Mindy Project and Raising Hope.

None of these pickups is particularly surprising; The Following is by far Fox’s top-performing drama and New Girl has wholly revitalized the network’s Tuesday night roster. Meanwhile, The Mindy Project is pulling its weight among women 18-34 and a fourth season of Raising Hope brings the series ever-so-close to a syndication number.

Since premiering on Jan. 21 to 10.4 million viewers and a 3.2 rating in the adults 18-49 demo, The Following has been a rare bright spot for the freshman class of 2012-13. Through six episodes, the procedural is averaging 9.05 million viewers and a 2.9 in the demo, making it the second highest-rated new series behind NBC’s Revolution (3.1 rating over the course of 10 installments). 

“From the very beginning, we felt [executive producers] Kevin Williamson and Marcos Siega had created a high-quality, edge-of-your-seat drama that could break from the pack, and it is exciting to see the audience responding,” said Fox entertainmnet chairman Kevin Reilly, by way of announcing the renewal. “Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy have given us two of the most compelling characters on television and the entire cast is incredible. I’m delighted to have this thrill ride continue on Fox for another season.” 

As was the case with Season 1, The Following’s sophomore run will consist of 15 episodes.

Since its introduction in September 2011, New Girl has been a tent pole property, drawing Fox’s highest ratings on Tuesday nights. Season 1 of the ensemble comedy averaged 6.36 million viewers and a 3.2 in the dollar demo; to date, the second season is averaging 4.49 million viewers and a 2.4 rating.

New Girl is also one of the youngest-skewing comedies on network TV, boasting a median age of 34 years. It is the No. 1 broadcast comedy among women 18-34. Such is the show’s standing among hard-to-reach dewy demos that New Girl commands one of the highest ad rates on the tube, with the average 30-second spot going for as much as $325,000 a pop in the 2012-13 upfront.

Series creator and head writer Liz Meriwether on Monday joked Season 3 of New Girl “is going to be when everyone just bones. And Season 4 deals with the resulting pregnancies.” Meriwether last month told Adweek that she was plotting the show’s third-season arc even though she wouldn’t know for certain about a renewal until later this spring.

Leading out of New Girl in the Tuesday 9:30 p.m. time slot, The Mindy Project is averaging a 1.6 in the dollar demo. The show regularly beats its head-to-head comedy competition; last week, the Mindy Kaling vehicle averaged a 1.7 in the demo, out-gunning NBC’s The New Normal (1.0) by 70 percent. (Since canceling its comedy Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23, ABC has been running its new competition series The Taste opposite Girl/Mindy.)

Kaling broke her part of the news this afternoon to her 2.17 million Twitter followers, posting the simple message “I love you, Kevin Reilly.”

Comedy block anchor Raising Hope will return for a fourth season. Fox has nine sitcom pilots in the running for the spot vacated by the canceled Ben and Kate, a slate that includes a workplace comedy starring Andy Samberg and $#*! My Dad Says creator Justin Halpern’s I Suck at Girls. 

“We love working with these talented producers and casts who, week after week, create some of the funniest work on television,” Reilly said. “These shows are creatively vibrant, they have established a loyal and passionate audience and they will continue to define and grow the Fox comedy brand next season and beyond.”

While other Fox series were not given official renewals, fans of Glee should be careful not to read too much into its omission. Given that Glee is angling for a fifth season, which would effectively put it over the syndication threshold, negotiations for renewal are likely to be significantly more complicated. 

Fox in January renewed its longest-running drama series, Bones, for a ninth season. The animated comedies The Simpsons, Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers and American Dad have all been picked up through 2013-14, leaving The Cleveland Show the only member of Fox’s “Animation Domination” lineup whose immediate future is uncertain.

While Fox hasn’t rendered a final verdict on the Kiefer Sutherland drama Touch, the two-year-old show is unlikely to survive beyond its April 23 season finale. Through its first four episodes in the Friday 9 p.m. slot, Touch is drawing just 2.89 million viewers and an 0.8 in the 18-49 demo.