I wrote a couple of weeks ago about Enlisted on Fox and how they had heard the complaints about the show from the military community. Fox tried to address those complaints and they did quite a public relations campaign trying to win people over to the show. I had said I would give the show a chance and I did. I watched the first episode knowing that it wasn’t going to be good but given their willingness to admit their mistakes, I would forgive the mistakes and watch. I must have been one of just a few people who tuned in. The ratings are so bad that Enlisted is certain to be canceled by Fox.
TV By The Numbers has The Cancellation Bear. The Bear tracks TV shows and the ratings and has been doing so for a long time. The Bear knows what shows are going to get canceled and which ones will survive. The Bear feels no emotions and has no favorites or least favorites. It just knows the numbers. According to The Bear, Enlisted is about to be it’s next meal.
The ratings for Enlisted didn’t start out great for the premiere. In fact, the ratings for the premiere were well within cancellation territory. Starting that low is never a good sign because shows tend to lose viewers after the premiere. Fox had done a publicity push to drive people to the premiere and even with the publicity, things didn’t look good. Ratings for the premiere on January 10 showed that only 2.4 million people tuned in for the premiere. That was even less than Enlisted’s lead in show, Raising Hope (which is also certain to be canceled) drew at 2.7 million viewers. Ratings for last night’s Enlisted are in and only 2.02 million tuned in for the second week. That is a loss of nearly 16% of the audience from the premiere week and that is not a good sign of things to come for the future of Enlisted.
Can an argument be made that Fox has been very stupid in their scheduling of Enlisted? Sure. You can make a very good argument for it. Putting the show on Friday nights at 8:30 with a lead in of a show that Fox also seems to want to kill seems to be a recipe for failure. If Fox really cared about Enlisted, they would have put it on any other night and used one of their other shows as a lead in. Do not expect them to move it to try and save it. Numbers are what matter in this business. While we as fans might want to talk about what night our favorite shows air and what competition they are airing against, network executives are not fans. They don’t care about that stuff. They care about the numbers and the numbers say that Enlisted is certain to be canceled.
I’m not terribly upset by this loss. I was willing to give Enlisted a chance but they had a long way to go to improve it to something I could like and watch. I think a comedy based on the military is going to be very tough to pull off. Military people are sensitive about how they are portrayed in the media and very rightly so. It’s not that military subjects are a golden goose that are off limits, but you do have to tread lightly if you want to take on this subject matter to make a show. Enlisted got it wrong and even though they admitted it and they wanted to make things better, it’s just not going to be good enough to bring in the viewers to save it.