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OCT
18
2 YEARS

Television's Ghoul Pool About To Get More Active

And bloody: Animal Practice is latest show to get axed, but others are sure to follow. And just in time for Halloween as well.

The Mob Doctor Jordana Spiro - H 2012
Nathaniel Bell/FOX
The Mob Doctor on Fox: What's taking so long?

 

As Halloween creeps closer and the TV industry ghouls swirl around in increasing numbers, the death toll on new fall shows is starting to pile up.

The ax first swung and hit CBS’s Made In Jersey – probably not the first pick you had in the office pool.

NBC then canceled Dane Cook’s Next Caller before it got on the air, but we only officially count canceled series if they get to air.

Of course, that makes NBC’s decision to take the Munsters-inspired Mockingbird Lane and crush and compact it from a series to a Halloween special particularly difficult to define. That’s got cancellation written all over it, obviously, even if NBC wrote it in invisible ink. What the decision really says is “we lost hope entirely,” which is actually meaner.

On Thursday, NBC canceled Animal Practice. Justin Kirk is free. That monkey Crystal has gone to heaven (figuratively, with a wink to the Pixies) and now everybody is a zombie smelling blood on the schedule and demanding to know which show is next.

Well, you’d have to think the poor souls of Fox's Mob Doctor are sitting in very uncomfortable chairs in purgatory just staring at the phone. That one is long overdue and Fox's indecision seems unusual if not cruel.

In a strange, sick and sad indictment of American culture, it looks like ABC may never cancel The Neighbors, so curb your enthusiasm (or blood-lust)  on that one.

But nobody on CBS’s Partners should start looking at property (or even cars). That ax has has already swung – you just haven’t felt the blade go through your neck yet (or CBS is still working on the press release).

Next in line is probably Guys With Kids on NBC, unless the network gave Jimmy Fallon some kind of extra special bonus where the demo number has to got to 0.8 or below. Then again, NBC just might be exhausted from hauling out its dead.

Over at ABC, don’t be surprised if the devil checks out of 666 Park Avenue at some point.

And, quite disappointingly, the numbers for the second episode of ABC's Nashville were depressing. Perhaps depressing enough for the writers to sub in a tears-in-beers song about rejection for Connie Britton to sing next week.

The numbers for Last Resort are also not encouraging, but ABC can’t cancel everything. And besides, a little patience might be nice from all the networks. This is an exceptionally difficult new era in television to launch a successful show. The daunting number options for viewers today renders old attitudes and practices about a show’s success or failure utterly useless.

Gasp! – programmers may have to go on their gut instincts. Or pray to whatever gods you want about a slow build that’s just another week or so away.

Barring that, the ghouls are circling and the ax is swinging. If the CW ever truly canceled series (or had anything worthwhile on the bench), it would have chopped the head off of Emily Owens, M.D. already.

Of course, judging from the pilot, Emily would still be talking, whether her head was attached to her body or not.

Email: Tim.Goodman@THR.com

Twitter: @BastardMachine