Apparently Fox doesn’t read our blog – or like good television – because they ignored our pleas to #RenewMindy. Your loss, Fox. Our blog is really good. And so is the Mindy Project.
As a lawyer, I’m looking at this pragmatically: it just doesn’t make sense to cancel The Mindy Project. [Also, as a human, I know that starting a sentence with “as a anything” is super obnoxious. Try it with any identifier; it’s true.] The Mindy Project took a season or so to find its footing and sort out its tone and supporting cast. Watching season one – as with most shows – is like Facebook stalking those randos you hung out with the first month of college and never talked to again. But since the beginning it has had sharp writing, an all-around fantastic cast (we love Xosha Roquemore!), and a protagonist who’s not like anyone else we’ve seen on tv. It also has a few other things a network would be crazy to give up:
- a dedicated fan base – which financially, means you have a discrete set of people who will be watching the show when it airs or over fine platforms such as Hulu, buying DVDs, etc. The ratings have been mediocre, but better than a number of shows that were renewed. Also, ratings are a bit garbage-y because of the weight the Nielson algorithm gives to live viewing on an actual tv screen. No, really, the top 10 shows last week included 20/20, 60 Minutes, NCIS, and Dancing With The Stars. The Nielsen top 10 basically reads as a viewing list to prep for brunch with your mom and grandma.
- critical acclaim – most critics loved Mindy, and the rest at least liked it. It even was nominated for or won awards – everything from Critic’s Choice to People’s Choice to Teen Choice, Gracie Awards and TCA Awards. Only some of those really count, but still.
- three seasons – as in, 67 episodes; as in, only 33 more to reach the golden 100 episodes. 100 episodes usually means that you see a picture of the cast cutting a dumb themed cake in TV Guide (another topic for brunch with your grandma: things you read in TV Guide). But more importantly, that’s the point at which most tv shows are licensed for off-network syndication. Even if TMP hasn’t performed to Fox’s liking, those repeated airings on FX or TBS or whatever can more than return the network’s investment. I just find it really hard to believe that producing 1-2 more seasons wouldn’t be profitable when you factor in syndication.
There’s a chance that getting dropped by Fox might be the best thing for The Mindy Project. It matters less and less what people are watching on broadcast. Some of the top series – House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, for instance – “air” on Netflix. Hulu originals haven’t caught on as much yet, but there’s no reason they couldn’t. Like many money-conscious millennials, I’ve already cut the cable cord and use my handy Roku to watch shows. It’s actually better for a lot of us when shows are broadcast on online platforms, because we don’t have to try to be home at a certain time to catch it on our antenna. [A post about cord-cutting is coming next week, but until then let’s just say that it’s fine, but there’s no attractive way to tape a flat antenna to your wall.]
The Mindy Project isn’t owned by Fox – it’s owned by NBC Universal. It’s their game now. It just makes sense for them to pitch it to Hulu, get their additional 30 or so episodes in, then cash in on all those airings of The Mindy Project at 7:00, 6:00 central on TNT beginning in 2018. NBC has already shown that they’re willing to take this path with their comedies – you can now catch Community on Yahoo. It’s Fox’s loss, but Hulu, it’s up to you now. Don’t screw this up.