Will ‘Mom’ Remain a Ratings Hit After Anna Faris Divorced Herself From CBS’ Current Longest-Running Sitcom?

Allison Janney is now the single mother on one of TV’s most consistent comedies

Mom Anna Faris
Photo: Robert Voets/2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

“Mom” has lost half of its moms, but will its impressive audience remain intact without Anna Faris? On Friday, news broke Faris would be exiting CBS’ currently longest-running sitcom ahead of its Season 8 premiere, leaving co-star Allison Janney alone at the top of the call sheet and the one responsible for keeping “Mom” near the top of the Nielsen rankings. It’s safe to say that task will be easy with the first episode of the Chuck Lorre-created show’s eighth season, as fans tune in to see how Faris’ character, Christy, is written off. But will the rest of Season 8 stack up to the numbers “Mom” earned in Season 7? From the start of the 2019-20 TV season-to-date, “Mom” is tied for 38th place out of 285 broadcast shows in the key adults 18-49 demographic with a 1.3 rating. (It’s actually a bit fewer than 285 individual series — Nielsen breaks out shows that air on multiple nights or in multiple time slots into their own line item. In other words, “Big Brother” currently occupies three of those 285 slots, one for Wednesday episodes, another for Thursdays and the third for Sundays.) That rating means “Mom” is tied with “Criminal Minds” as CBS’ fifth best-rated show. “Survivor,” “NCIS,” “Young Sheldon” and “FBI” top those two. And it means “Mom” is CBS’ second highest-rated comedy. Counting all of broadcast television, “Mom” was TV’s third highest-rated sitcom this season. No. 2, “Modern Family,” has exited the airwaves (as did No. 4, “The Good Place”), leaving that silver-medal podium open for “Mom” — or perhaps for Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing” on Fox. In terms of overall audience size, with an average of 8.524 million viewers, “Mom” ranks 33rd on broadcast television. These Nielsen numbers include one week of delayed viewing. Readers can subtract five slots from both of those rankings by simply omitting football. If you were so inclined to remove newsmagazine programming from this study, one can move “Mom” up by six slots on the total-viewer side. In addition to the sheer strength of its Nielsen numbers, CBS is particularly enamored with the consistency with which “Mom” delivers an audience. Following 153 episodes of Faris and Janney together, consistency may no longer be a strength of the multi-camera comedy. “The past seven years on ‘Mom’ have been some of the most fulfilling and rewarding of my career,” Faris said on Friday. “I’m so thankful to Chuck, the writers, and my amazing castmates for creating a truly wonderful work experience. While my journey as Christy has come to an end, allowing me to pursue new opportunities, I’ll be watching next season and rooting for my TV family.” The role of Christy will not be recast, a person with knowledge of the plans told TheWrap. Rather, Christy will be written out of the series when the show returns for its upcoming eighth season, which does not yet have a premiere date after being pushed off of CBS’ fall schedule — along with the network’s other scripted shows — due to COVID-related production delays. And without a debut date, we don’t yet know what competition “Mom” will be facing in its time slot when it returns. The series is slated to begin filming on the new season later this month. It is unclear if CBS will bring in a new co-star with Janney (Warner Bros. TV, which produces the series, declined to comment on that specifically). “Mom” featured Faris and Janney as mother-daughter duo Christy and Bonnie Plunkett who rekindled their relationship after years of alcohol addiction. Faris’ character was also a single mother of two. “Mom” also stars Mimi Kennedy, Jaime Pressly, Beth Hall, William Fichtner and Kristen Johnston. Janney has been the more critically recognized of the two, winning a pair of Emmys for her role and picking up five nominations, while Anna Faris has repeatedly been snubbed by the Television Academy. (Janney has four additional Emmys from “The West Wing” and an Oscar for “I, Tonya.”) “From the inception of ‘Mom,’ Anna was the first and only choice for the role of Christy,” WBTV, CBS and Chuck Lorre Productions said in a statement on Friday. “We are so proud of the stories we have been able to tell during Anna’s seven years with us. We wish Anna all the best, and we thank her for her beautiful portrayal.” “Mom” premiered on CBS in September 2013, initially airing on Mondays before moving to Thursdays at the start of its second season. It’s remained on that weeknight ever since. The show was renewed for Seasons 7 and 8 in February 2019.

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