The Fall TV Death Pool: What Are the Odds?

John Russo/NBC; ABC/Glenn Watson; Trae Patton/NBC; ABC/Patrick Harbron; Brook Rushton/Fox

THR's critic sets the probabilities on which series will get canceled first.

When it comes to canceling a television series, it's often "when" and not "if." The truth is, there's no real science to it. Some shows that almost certainly will be canceled -- hello, Fox's I Hate My Teenage Daughter -- won't be first to go because they premiere later than others, and you can't really include cable in this guessing game because those channels are more likely to let a series run a full season before deciding. And a show doesn't have to be bad, from the critics' perspective, to get the heave-ho (remember Lone Star last season?). What makes predicting the death of a TV series even harder are factors that circumvent logic or Nielsen disaster alone. Such as: The CW rarely cancels shows in a timely manner, so it's not going to pull the plug the day after Hart of Dixie premieres. Nor will ABC likely be quick to ax Pan Am because the only number that really matters is $10 million, the reported cost of the pilot. (Paul Lee might want to be patient on that.) Given those caveats, here are my cancellation odds for all freshman network series through October.

Charlie's Angels (ABC) 3:1
Unless it wins the distinction of becoming this season's Unkillable Awful Show (like Mike & Molly), this remake won't be around long.

The Playboy Club (NBC) 5:1
A not-very-good show with time-slot competition (Castle, Hawaii Five-0) that will kill it.

Whitney (NBC) 8:1
Of course, this network stubbornly stuck with Outsourced, so you never know. But people drift off from the last Thursday night comedy slot.

Grimm (NBC) 10:1
The latest genre show on a genre night, but it might be a case of last one in, first one out.

Revenge (ABC) 10:1
Lots of hype, fun pilot. But it's unlikely to win CSI's 10 p.m. Wednesday slot -- ever.

Free Agents (NBC) 15:1
Shorter odds than its lead-in, Up All Night. Plus, ABC's competition Suburgatory is funnier.

Man Up (ABC) 15:1
Wimpiest of the new shows questioning manhood.

Prime Suspect (NBC) 15:1
Despite annoyance that it's unlike the original, I'll root for Maria Bello. But solid competition (Private Practice, The Mentalist) makes it iffy.

Pan Am (ABC) 20:1
At some point, executives will accept that the money for the pilot is a write-off. Then it's over.

How to Be a Gentleman (CBS) 25:1
A bad comedy, but follows The Big Bang Theory.

Last Man Standing (ABC) 25:1
Terrible show, proven star in Tim Allen. This is either going to be the Unkillable Awful Show of the new season, or it will implode and take Man Up with it.

Once Upon a Time (ABC) 25:1
The odds would be a lot shorter, but I think in a fairy-tale twist, it's going to defy death.

Up All Night (NBC) 25:1
A good comedy that will be crushed by The X Factor and Survivor. But the network surely knew that, so perhaps it will get a longer leash than other shows.

New Girl (Fox) 30:1
It's set to air after Glee and before Raising Hope. Besides, if the comedy gets canceled, who would want to tell Zooey Deschanel and make her cry? No one.

Person of Interest (CBS) 30:1
A show I really like, but it will have to beat Bones or Grey's Anatomy regularly or the network will run out of patience.

Terra Nova (Fox) 30:1
Not convinced this will be the massive hit everyone expects, Spielberg or not.

Allen Gregory (Fox) 40:1
Fox loves animation, even when it appears to be unfunny. Plus, it's between The Simpsons and Family Guy.

Suburgatory (ABC) 45:1
A Juno-esque comedy between The Middle and Modern Family. A lot would have to go wrong.

The Secret Circle (CW) 50:1
I would like to put a witch's curse on this, but again, it's the CW. And this is a sister show to The Vampire Diaries.

Unforgettable (CBS) 50:1
Proven star in Poppy Montgomery, slow show. But it will likely do no worse than second each week at 10 p.m. Tuesday. The smell of safety.

A Gifted Man (CBS) 55:1
Dead people talking, sentimentality, Friday nights, CBS. A lock.

2 Broke Girls (CBS) 60:1
A snappy odd-couple comedy wedged between hits. On the other hand, this network does not abide failure, so if it doesn't find an audience fast, drop the 0 after the 6.

Ringer (CW) 80:1
Although Sarah Michelle Gellar is grandma age for the CW, this was a gift from parent CBS.

The X Factor (Fox) 99:1
You're kidding, right? Fox won't touch this show.

comments powered by Disqus