November 5, 1999
"ABC, as expected, has pulled laffer Oh Grow Up for the entire November sweeps. Starting next week, Norm will move to 9:30pm Wednesday for the entire sweeps period. Its 8:30pm slot will be filled by a combination of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Whose Line Is It Anyway. ABC insiders said the bumped laffer will return in December."
-- Michael Schneider and Josef Adalian, Variety
Alan sat us down and gave us another talking to this afternoon. 'As you have probably heard...' he began, and we had. We all had a feeling yesterday when the ratings for this week's show were less than stellar. A couple of weeks ago the rumors had begun that we would be pulled for sweeps. Then we had a sudden ratings surge (October 21) and the rumors remained just that -- rumors. There was never an official statement made about sweeps scheduling. The show looked like it had found new life all on its own and was fighting to hold its 9:30pm timeslot. The following week, up against baseball, the numbers took a dip, but still no official word. Then this week, the dip became a trend, and this time we had no baseball scapegoat. That led to this morning's news article. Yeah, we've heard.
Alan detailed the plan as he knows it. Take the show off the air for four weeks, then bring it back in December and 're-launch' it, airing four new episodes. The show will return with much bally-hoo and fanfare. Or so they say. This time, Alan and the writing staff are taking matters into their own hands, coming up with promo ideas for the network to assist them in their fanfaring and bally-hooing. There is a feeling on the show that ABC didn't pull its weight in launching the show the first time around. The blame game? Maybe, but if it motivates a more vigorous approach in December, then fine.
The unknown part of the plan is what timeslot we will return in. Alan has made it clear to ABC that he does not want to air after Drew Carey anymore. He feels that the shows are thematically too different to attract the same viewers. There is also the problem of retention. As long as we follow Drew, the most important ratings number will always be our retention of their audience. Alan feels that if we were in a different slot, our numbers would speak for themselves. That is true to a certain extent. I think that every show in a :30 timeslot is compared to its preceding show. Ratings are really measured in full hours when they determine advertising rates, so you have to put together a sitcom package that works, not just a half-hour's worth. Even though, trying to retain Two Guys and a Girl's audience or Spin City's audience might not be as much of a challenge as holding onto Drew's faithful. So we'll see where we end up come December.
Oh yeah, we're also putting together an episode of the show these days. This week's effort began a lot more promising than it has evolved. On Wednesday it was as cute and interesting as previous scripts but efforts since then have been below par. It just feels like the jokes coming out of the writers' room are typical sitcom fodder, which isn't all that funny and never interesting to watch. Obviously it's not too late. There's still time before we shoot the show. I just don't understand what has caused the shift. I fear that as we go on, the writers get less and less ahead of schedule and then have less time to devote to punching up the current episode. I just hope that they were inspired by today's run-through to give this one another look.
Go on to Episode Ten Shoot.
Episode 110 | Behind the Scenes | Oh Grow Up