TVRG’s Best and Worst of 2020: Worst Freshman Scripted Series

It is all too easy to dump on Almost Family, as it was possibly FOX' weakest link on an updated schedule.  Post #Me Too, a premise of a maniacal doctor (Timothy Hutton) inseminating hundreds of women with his own seed was tasteless.  Even more tasteless, FOX gave this series a prime development bed following red-hot The Masked Singer, a family-friendly fare that pumped energy into their valued Wednesday evening.  An appealing cast couldn't make up for an appalling premise, and the ratings depicted this, as the series hardly captured a third of The Masked Singer's audience with a 0.7 debut out of a 2.0.

More appalling, FOX didn't appear to have its other deserving freshman series developed to bounce Almost Family from defiling one of it's best development beds.  Deputy may not have been original, but would have fit compatibly in the slot and perhaps delivered over the 1.0 mark.  Prodigal Son itself had a modest lead-in from 9-1-1, but why not ship it to Wednesdays and allow 9-1-1: Lonestar an earlier launch and to capitalize on its flagship's tsunami story?  More insulting was former megahit Empire was bounced off Wednesday for its final season and confined to FOX's Tuesday retirement home to wither in its final episodes when it would have been more worthy of a graceful Wednesday swan song.

It is evident FOX knew Almost Family would struggle the most among its newbies and deliberately placed it behind The Masked Singer to optimize its development.  The trouble is the timing which they forced this monstrosity on viewers was during early Fall, November and January scheduling, all times which shows receive the greatest gains.  Any of FOX' other shows should have been placed here vs. the network stubbornly holding its course and keeping it on Wednesdays through to January 15.  It was evident when ratings dropped to a 0.3 in January (following equally undeserving Flirty Dancing) viewers were saying "No means no" and the numbers reflected it.  Lessons FOX should learn from Almost Family is if the series cannot retain at least half of a massive lead-in, it needs to be relocated.  Whether to another evening, or off the schedule.

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