“Men at Work” premieres to strong numbers at TBS

A scene from TBS's new show "Men at Work".TBS is best known for Conan O’Brien’s late-night talk show and a litany of Tyler Perry spin-offs, but the successful premiere of the cable giant’s new sitcom “Men at Work” suggests that they may have a future in producing shows as bland and uninspired as those of the networks.

“Men at Work” is from Breckin Meyer (“Road Trip,” “Franklin and Bash”), which should have been reason enough for this critic to skip it, but for some reason I watched the first 15 minutes before recoiling in horror and changing the channel. The show is dominated by the kind of faux bro-humor that would be right at home in the CBS comedy block, just slightly edged-up for cable.

Despite its poor quality, the pilot premiered to a very good 2.6 million total viewers, including 1.6m adults 18-49, and 851,000 adults 18-34. That’s better than last night’s 8:30 re-run of “The Office” on NBC — that is to say, network television! “Men at Work” also captured a far superior demo score to the season finale of NBC’s “Awake,” which likewise ran at 10 p.m.

While these numbers were lower than those for the premieres of several other recent TBS pilots, those shows–like “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns” and “Are We There Yet?,” based on the Ice Cube film–had pre-existing followings.

What’s more: the second episode, which immediately followed at 10:30, held up pretty well. Clearly, the average viewer was nowhere near as repelled by Meyer’s material as I. It drew 2.3m total viewers (including same-day DVR viewings), with 1.4m adults 18-49 and 778,000 adults 18-34.

TBS recently acquired “Cougar Town,” the Courtney Cox sitcom that has thus far aired on ABC, for two new seasons. Evidently, it’s their mission to become the leading source of vanilla, uninspired half-hour comedies.

At least “The Big Bang Theory,” which TBS airs in re-runs, has some wit and vigor in spite of its conventional execution. It happens to be the lead-in program for “Men at Work,” so maybe viewers will watch both and realize just how creatively bankrupt the latter is by comparison.

Source: TV By the Numbers