This week the Fox network announced that it has cancelled Pitch (Executive Producer Kevin Falls), one of the few bright spots – especially for Fox – on the broadcast TV schedule. The series, about the first female pitcher for a major league baseball team, provides a rare example of a positive female role model on TV, but beyond that, it also featured inspiring characters, uplifting messages and relatively family-friendly content. Paris Barclay, who directed the first episode said of the series, “I’ve been aching to have a show I can watch with my family, and now there is one.”
Critics were no less enthusiastic: “One of fall’s most ambitious pilots is also one of its best” (AdWeek), “One of the best (if not the best) pilot of the fall… This one knocks it out of the park!” (E! Online), “Inspirational!” (TV Guide magazine), and on and on…
Meanwhile, The Mick (co-executive producers John and Dave Chernin, sons of Peter Chernin, former President and COO of Fox parent company NewsCorp) — a series about kids behaving badly and irresponsible adults behaving worse — has been picked up for a second season.
But why did The Mick get a second-season pick-up, rather than Pitch?
Maybe The Mick got a second season because of critical acclaim?
The LA Times’ Meredith Blake called The Mick a “shallow exercise in provocation,” then went on to say that “Once the incessant attempts to offend grow wearisome, there’s not enough here to bring you back for another round… There’s no hugging and no learning, but I’m not sure that what the show offers instead — joke after joke relying on the shock value of seeing a child say or do something inappropriate and adults acting irresponsibly.” The New York Times said, “Without the freedom in language, tone and general obnoxiousness that FXX gives [It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia], the over-the-top situations in The Mick are less likely to make you laugh than to make you feel vaguely uncomfortable.” From the Las Vegas Weekly: “It’s hard to root for the characters to form a makeshift family when all of them are such terrible people, but their terribleness is compromised by the need to make them semi-likable. It’s the worst of both worlds.”
Nope, that’s not it.
Maybe the ratings could explain why it got picked up over Pitch?
Pitch actually outperformed The Mick, averaging 3.03 million viewers to The Mick’s 3.02. And if you take out The Mick’s strong New Year’s Day premiere numbers (when there was little other new content), the gap between Pitch and The Mick’s average rating grows even wider (3.03 to 2.65). The Mick lost viewers week after week, starting with a strong 8.58 million when it premiered and dropping to 3.37 million by week two, and dwindling down to 2.09 by episode 14. Pitch, by contrast, ended its ten episode run with 2.89 million viewers.
So The Mick isn’t a ratings hit, either. And with the reviews they were getting, it’s doubtful Fox was holding out hope that The Mick would land an Emmy or Golden Globe award.
Maybe we’ll never solve the mystery.
It’s just a shame Pitch’s producer’s last name isn’t “Chernin.”