Assessing the Situation...Pitch

Welcome to Assessing the Situation, a spin-off of sorts of FOX Renew/Cancel Watch where notable shows get their own articles to evaluate a) how they are doing, and b) their estimated chances of
coming back next season. This first article is for Pitch, their Thursday night baseball drama that just finished its 10-episode first season. Enjoy!

The Ratings

Above are the Live + Same Day ratings for Pitch in all publicly available demographics. Typically, the most important one is seen as A18-49, but if shows tend to do better in M18-34 or W18-34 than A18-49, that can be noted as it is a harder demographic for advertisers to reach. A young-skew is not the case for Pitch, despite the fact that many of its fellow FOX shows are doing as well or better in an 18-34 demo.

One promising trend, though, is its finale did not end in the red. Rather, episode 7 seemed to be the low note, and there is still enough interest in it so that it has the ability to uptick for its finale. Another promising thing about its ratings is that it doesn't look all that bad when compared to its lead-in, Rosewood. Pitch has either tied or grown out of Rosewood for each of its airings, showing that at the very least its audience isn't artificial. Maybe if paired with a stronger and more compatible show, Pitch could see an increase in ratings. But even with these trends, let's not act like these ratings are remotely good. Its ratings are at just 66% of FOX's non-sports average, putting it behind the vast majority of its programs.

Capped vs Backorder Option
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Kevin Falls explained that the show was meant to be capped at 10 episodes from the start, as it was a midseason show initially. However, he did imply that the people behind the show were interested in seeing if they could get a backorder anyways, possibly airing the remaining episodes in the summer, but that plan never came to action. So while we may never know if indeed it was meant to be capped with no option of a backorder or not, the bottom line is it's getting replaced by a kitchen reality show that seemingly came out of nowhere.

Dan Fogelman
Dan Fogelman blessed NBC with This is Us this season, easily the biggest scripted show success since Empire. FOX, meanwhile, got Pitch, a show that rates marginal at best. But like last year's Scream Queens and Ryan Murphy, could FOX keep Pitch in attempt to continue relations with Dan Fogelman, hoping that in the near future he brings them a hit like This is Us? It's definitely possible. Maybe Pitch is an outlier, and Dan Fogelman has many hits to come.

MLB Partnership
Not many broadcast television shows can say that the MLB is a co-producer...actually only one can, and that's Pitch. As such, this show is likely an important asset to the MLB, and is even recognized by the showrunner to be de facto free promotion for the league. It's definitely possible that FOX renews Pitch, moves it to Friday, and uses it to build up hype for the MLB playoffs. Or maybe they air it next spring, when baseball season is fresh. Or maybe it even moves to MLB Network, which seems like a long shot, but maybe they could at least rerun it there. The bottom line is this is a unique partnership, and we don't have any past references to see how big of a role this could play in a renew/cancel decision.

The Assessment
So...what's my assessment? Despite the fact that Pitch's first season has ended, I'm not ruling out a prediction change between now and when its fate comes, depending on if any other news about it comes out and/or we see ratings for midseason shows. A few have done interviews saying that they are high on its chances of returning, but can they really say too much to the contrary? Right now, Pitch is a likely cancelation in my book.

What do you think of my prediction? What's yours? Could any other factors play a role in the renew/cancel decision of Pitch? How do you think it did this season? Let us know in the comments below!

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