We Are Dead Men: CBS Kills Off Freshman Comedy

Network restructures Monday night

If Jerry O’Connell can’t seem to catch a break on broadcast TV, CBS’ Monday 8:30 p.m. time slot isn’t in much better shape.

The network on Wednesday evening elected to shutter O’Connell’s new sitcom We Are Men, marking the actor’s third premature demise since 2008. The $10 million pilot for NBC’s Mockingbird Lane, a dramatic Munsters reboot starring O’Connell as the Frankensteinian patriarch Herman, was burned off last October to little fanfare, while the Fox comedy Do Not Disturb was rubbed out six years ago after just two episodes.

Scattered among the likeable actor’s résumé are one-and-done efforts like ABC’s 2007-08 sitcom Carpoolers and the 2010-11 CBS legal comedy/drama hybrid The Defenders.

We Are Men also starred high-profile comic actors like Kal Penn and Tony Shalhoub.

That We Are Men was removed from CBS’ lineup is not at all surprising; after bowing Sept. 30 to 6.61 million viewers and a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49, the follow-up episode on Monday dropped to 5.41 million viewers and a 1.8 rating.

While those numbers might be acceptable at mere mortal broadcast outlets, CBS has little patience for underperforming freshman series. After dropping to a 1.9 in the demo in its third installment, the year-ago time slot occupant Partners managed to hang on for another three episodes before being pulled last November. At the time, Partners averaged a 2.1 rating among the 18-49 crowd, and while it’s not an apples-to-hand grenades comparison, by the end of the season not a single new comedy had topped it in the demo.

Third-year sitcom 2 Broke Girls is getting kicked out of the powerhouse 9 p.m. slot to take up the slack for the departed Men, whereupon it will be replaced in the short term by repeats of the top-rated scripted series The Big Bang Theory. Meanwhile, Mike & Molly on Nov. 4 will be called off the bench to fill the 9 p.m. hole.

Chuck Lorre’s latest CBS comedy, Mom, is relatively safe in its 9:30 p.m. perch, averaging 6.86 million viewers and a 2.1 rating last Monday. Since bowing on Sept. 23, Mom has retained 84 percent of its demo, making it one of a very few sticky launches of 2013-14.

For the time being, the 10 p.m. freshman drama Hostages will stay put, although the show’s ratings suggest it soon could be shipped out to the wilds of Friday night. After bowing to a tepid 7.41 million viewers and a 1.8 rating, the episodic thriller on Oct. 7 dropped to 5.22 million viewers and a 1.2.

Not helping matters is Hostages’ relative creakiness—at least from a demographic standpoint. Per Nielsen, Hostages reaches a median audience of 56.1 years, making it CBS’ oldest new series and one of the most weathered newcomers on broadcast’s fall schedule.

We Are Men is now the second new broadcast show to be terminated, following the ill-starred ABC drama Lucky 7. Other newbies that would seem to be in danger are Dads (Fox); NBC’s Welcome to the Family and Ironside; and ABC’s Betrayal.