11:57am PT by Michael O'Connell, Lesley Goldberg
ABC Yanks 'Apartment 23' From Schedule, Doubles Up on 'Happy Endings'
There's bad news and good news for fans of ABC's Tuesday comedy block. Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23 has been pulled from the schedule, effective immediately, and Happy Endings will start airing back-to-back original episodes starting Jan. 29.
A network rep confirms to The Hollywood Reporter that the change takes place next week, following Tuesday night's special two-hour premiere of The Taste and weeks of shuffling for both Apt. 23 and Happy Endings.
After the two comedies were given an early end date in March to accommodate ABC's midseason schedule, the network announced plans to air three "bonus" episodes of each in the vacated 10 p.m. Sunday slot, before ditching the third round for an encore of Shark Tank after low ratings.
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This latest development also comes two weeks after ABC Network Groups president Paul Lee told reporters at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour that a decision on the future of both Apt. 23 and Happy Endings had yet to be made.
"We love those two shows. They're incredibly distinctive, and they’re water-cooler shows," he said, noting that he planned to continue supporting the series throughout the season. Lee stopped short of commenting on whether either show would live beyond its current order (22 episodes for Happy Endings and 18 for Apt. 23).
For Apt. 23, starring Krysten Ritter, the move marks the latest in its wonky scheduling. The series launched last year as a midseason show, with multiple episodes shelved to run out of sequence this season, including a story line involving co-star James Van Der Beek as a Dancing With the Stars contestant that only recently aired.
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And Happy Endings, itself a midseason show in 2011, saw its full order come to a quick close last season to accommodate new entries. An unaired season two episode finally made it to air two Sundays ago.
Happy Endings, airing at 9 p.m. Tuesdays, has performed significantly stronger than Apt. 23 since the lineup launched earlier this season. It's currently averaging a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49 and 4 million viewers in Live+Same Day returns. Apt. 23 has a season average of a 1.2 adults rating and 3 million viewers.
No decision has been made on when or where the eight unaired episodes of Apt. 23 will land.
Van Der Beek took to Twitter on Tuesday to express his gratitude to ABC for taking a chance on the series.
"Sad to say ABC has pulled
#Apt23 and will not be airing the 8 remaining episodes any time soon. Translation: we’ve basically been cancelled," he wrote. "And please, no bashing ABC. While I’m sure no one there would say they think they nailed it when it came to programming #Apt23 this year...You've got to give ABC props for ever picking us up in the first place. They took a shot at something original & edgy. I respect them for it."