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Five keys to saving Better Off Ted

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 25th 2010 1:03PM
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A couple of weeks ago, Kona wrote about the campaign to convince ABC to save Better Off Ted. Despite these grassroots efforts, the rating for Ted continue to be dismal and ABC probably has "cancel Better Off Ted" on the corporate to-do list.

That's a shame, because the more I watch of Better Off Ted, the better I think it is. Smart, funny, observant and surreal, Ted is an office comedy that makes deserves to survive. If more people gave it a shot, I think it would be a success. Maybe not a monster hit, but there aren't many of those in the sitcom field right now. Emmy winner 30 Rock is anything but a ratings hit.

But how do you make people watch a show like Better Off Ted? It has yet to find a large enough audience to warrant keeping it on the air, and time is running out on their chances of making it into season three. Here's a few ideas:

1. Give it a better partner. Pairing Better Off Ted with Scrubs might have seemed like a good idea. In tone, they're similar shows and in the best of all network situations, it might have work. However, it's been a disastrous decision. Perhaps viewers perceive that Scrubs is a dead show walking, a show that was brought back from for one last go round on ABC. Whatever the case, Scrubs has been an anchor, dragging down Better Off Ted, and they're both lost in the undertow. BOT needs to be airing alongside a better running mate...

2. What about Wednesday? Since Hank bit the dust, the Wednesday sitcom line up has needed a replacement. Why oh why didn't ABC move Better Off Ted into the slot between The Middle and Modern Family? That was the logical spot. There's no rule that says that a workplace comedy can't fit with a family sitcom. And, anyway, half of The Middle has Fran working at Elhert Motors. Wednesday has been a success for ABC comedy. Ted might have produced similar Nielsen numbers to the other shows broadcast on that night if given the chance.

3. Perhaps some stunt casting? Bringing on a big name guest star helps some shows get a shot of attention. But Ted needs more than just a typical guest star. Ted needs a stunt, someone who has the kind of following that would make them tune in to Ted. Three names comes to mind off the bat, and believe me, they're all off-the-wall choices: Sarah Palin, Paula Abdul and Conan O'Brien. Each one of them have been in the news and would draw a different viewer to Ted. Risky? Maybe, but at this point BOT needs shock therapy.

4. Promotion, promotion, promotion. ABC has done a great job promoting some shows. Lost is a prime example. Think of all the ways ABC has let the world know about Lost coming back on February 2. Another major promotion that worked was the one for V. Better Off Ted needs some major promotion that would force people to notice it and tune in. Right now I suspect that most people don't know when the show is even aired. It may be too late now, but promotion that raises the level of attention to BOT the way NBC has made The Office known would help. Maybe they can organize a bagel-vent competition like Veronica and Linda around the country, make it a real game and get Dunkin Donuts to sponsor it.

5. Mobilize.
The fans have been doing their part with the web site and the Twitter, but there needs to be more. Maybe Better Off Ted stars should be doing commercial pods before and after hit shows, bracketing Grey's Anatomy and Lost and Desperate Housewives. Funny mini-eps like you see on USA Network for Psych, for example. If ABC really has the desire to save Ted, blanket the network with Ted people doing bits, phony PSAs, etc.

So, will it work? I'd say it's an uphill battle, but it's one worth fighting. It would be a shame if a year or so from now we're including Better Off Ted in a Gone Too Soon feature.

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johnr

I hope it survives. The bad language episode was enough to make me a fan. I think Wednesday night would be a good choice, right between "The Middle" and "Modern Family", two shows that "Ted" is easily the equal of in wit and originality. Since ABC has now canceled "Ugly Betty" and is relying on double episodes of the existing Wednesday night shows, "Ted" would be a good addition to the lineup. Besides, with "Lost" and "Unforgotten" on Tuesdays, Ted is going to be a fish out of water in that lineup and "Scrubs" won't help matters, being a poor shadow of what it once was.
And maybe a national "Lindabagel" competition would perk up some interest.
And, yes, every time you smoke, Santa kills an elf.

February 06 2010 at 10:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rob

Better off ted is one of the best shows on TV right now. We all know that putting a stapler in jello is funny but I almost wet myself when I found out that if you Smoke, Santa kills an elf!

This show is one of the few TV shows that everyone in corporate America can look at and say... to a certain extent... I work at Varidian.

January 29 2010 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fibrowitch

I was doing a little bit of aura reading last night when the most meta thing hit me. The color viridian in aura readings means the person is emotionally and mentally stressed.

Perfect name for that company now that I think about it.

January 26 2010 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sean

Please ABC keep this show on, it's the funniest show on air right now. I only watch ABC for this show. Please help sign the petition www.savebetteroffted.com . Great article Allison!!

January 26 2010 at 11:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

Ted is good but not great. Would I miss it if it were canceled? Probably not.

I'd miss Andrea Anders, but I have no doubt she'd end up somewhere else ... on something better.

January 26 2010 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jim's comment
rob

Jimmy, Everytime you turn your back on Better off Ted, "Santa Kills an Elf".

Thats all I have say about that! "SO DEAL WITH IT"!

January 29 2010 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
OldSoapPro

I can't figure out how to "respond" to comments directly on this site, but I wanted to applaud Matt and heartily second his remarks. I have no idea who you are, Alison, or what qualifies you to vent your opinions in a public forum, but, assuming someone is in fact paying you to do so, have a bit of pride in your work and try proofreading your wee diatribes before you post them. I know AOL has NO quality control, but, c'mon.

That being said, ABC, if anyone's paying any attention to this, do consider moving Ted to Wednesdays. You don't have to pander to the LCD on every night, do you? Give those of us with a brain a full night of cleverness. You're only half an hour away from being able to call it Witty Wednesday.

January 25 2010 at 10:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff N.

My wife and I find this show so funny! And there are really so few truly funny shows on TV these days.
I hope some way can be found to keep this show on the air.

January 25 2010 at 5:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Justin

If they moved it to Wednesday to take the spot that was given to Hank, it'd likely do much better. Scrubs should be the D.O.A. show right now--it's just nowhere near where it was in its heyday or even last season. Tuesday should go back to drama, especially with Lost's return on the horizon, and Better Off Ted should go to Wednesdays, even if it is reruns.

January 25 2010 at 3:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
am_hollitz

I like "Ted" enough, but this show reminds me of TGIF filler--the kookiness and absurdity level are right up there with Perfect Strangers and Boy Meets World.

Since ABC has done away with TGIF programming block, however, this show doesn't fit their schedule. Time to find a replacement that connects with more audiences.

January 25 2010 at 2:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matt

Could you do yourself a favor and use spell/grammar check?
Because "it might have work" and "Each one of them have been" don't really agree with me... Just saying.

January 25 2010 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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