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20-Year-Old Matlock Movie Outdraws 1600 Penn

• March 1, 2013 2:38 pm

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The dreams of Obama speechwriters looking to make it big in Hollywood sustained another crushing blow when an NBC-affliate in Kentucky displayed some critical acumen by dumping a new episode of 1600 Penn, the mediocre brainchild of White House-ex pat and birther-humorist Jon Lovett, in favor of a 20-year-old Matlock movie. And the Matlock movie earned higher ratings.

The AV Club rolls the game tape:

According to ShowBuzzDaily, the number of households in the Cleveland area tuned in to Matlock: The Return just slightly edged out the national average for 1600 Penn, thus proving the long-held notion that TV viewers in major Midwestern markets prefer the folksy, homespun wisdom of the late Andy Griffith to whatever Josh Gad is yelling about this week. (And for another notch in the win column, WKYC gets to keep all of the ad revenue sold for that two-hour bloc, rather than handing the lion’s share of the money to the network.) The station plans to follow the same preemption track for next Thursday with Matlock: The Heist; if the ratings improve, expect to hear about every affiliate from Sioux Falls to Buffalo tossing out NBC reruns in favor of old Columbos, McMillan & Wifes, and Murder, She Wrote double features.

The City of Angels contains the Boulevard of Broken Dreams for Lovett, the Robin to Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau’s Batman. (Favs may be joining Lovett in LA after leaving his post as head speechwriter). After a shocking amount of hype from the Washington Post and Salon for someone who is essentially a television rookie, 1600 Penn arrived with a resounding ‘meh,’ earning a 55 rating average from Metacritic.  Critic Dan Fienberg said, "It’s comedy style without being funny."

Favs better shout out to his boy to step up his game. He can't want Lovett to spoil the Obama-writer-turned-Hollywood-show-runner brand before he even sets foot in the Chateau Marmont.