'BrainDead,' 'American Gothic' Canceled at CBS

Of the network's summer scripted fare, only 'Zoo' remains.
Michael Parmelee/CBS
'BrainDead'

CBS is abandoning ship on two of its three summer scripted originals.

The network has canceled dramas BrainDead and American Gothic after one season each, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Of the network's three summer 2016 dramas, only the previously renewed Zoo will return. 

BrainDead marked the first post-The Good Wife series for showrunners Robert and Michelle King. The Washington, D.C.-set political horror satire was averaging a dismal 0.4 among adults 18-49 — with seven days of DVR. The drama, produced in-house at CBS Television Studios, where the Kings are under a rich overall deal, starred Elizabeth Winstead, Danny Pino, Tony Shalhoub and Aaron Tveit and was picked up straight to series as part of CBS' summer model. After launching with a massive marketing push, the series debuted to just under 5 million live-same-day viewers in June before finishing its run in September with half the viewership.

The move comes after CBS All Access recently announced that the Kings will serve as showrunners on the Good Wife spinoff after the duo initially wanted to take a backseat on the digital platform's follow-up drama. The decision to cancel BrainDead was further complicated by CBS' SVOD deal with Amazon, which has rights to one summer scripted entry per year through 2018.
 
 
American Gothic, from executive producer Corinne Brinkerhoff (who worked with the Kings on The Good Wife), starred Juliet Rylance and Justin Chatwin in a family drama with a serialized whodunnit twist. Produced by CBS Television Studios and Amblin Television, the straight-to-series project debuted to 3.4 million total viewers before ending its run with numbers that were only slightly better than BrainDead.
 
CBS president Glenn Geller, talking with THR this summer, was the first to acknowledge that critical bombs BrainDead and American Gothic hadn't delivered what he anticipated. The returns on both series paled in comparison to CBS' Under the Dome, which opened the door for pricey scripted originals to air in the typically low-rated summer months. Geller remains committed to scripted in the summer, but also is looking to broaden the field with game shows similar to ABC's retro lineup that helped the Disney-owned network improve its summer fortunes this year. 
 
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