5:30am PT by Rick Porter
All the Broadcast TV Shows Canceled This Season (and Why)
The paradox of broadcast television in the Peak TV era is that while there are fewer breakout hits, networks are also more willing to let shows run their course than in times past. Just about every show on broadcast at least got to play out its initial run in 2018-19.
Which doesn't mean that everything's coming back (except on The CW). From first-year shows that dreamed of breaking out to declining veterans, The Hollywood Reporter rounds up all the shows that won't last past the 2018-19 season — and why they're gone.
This post will be updated throughout upfronts with the latest news.
Speechless | A move to Fridays predictably drove ratings down for the third-year comedy from Friends alum Scott Silveri. Even accounting for lower TV usage on the night, Speechless lost a considerable amount of its audience. There was hope that Disney's newfound ownership of studio 20th Century Fox TV might help extend the life of the critical favorite starring Minnie Driver and John Ross Bowie, but that didn't come to pass for one of the few shows on TV featuring a disabled actor (Micah Fowler).
Splitting Up Together | The rom-com from starring Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson as a divorced couple stuck living together rode the Roseanne wave to solid ratings in its first season, but the waters were much rougher in its second. A 42 percent tumble in adults 18-49 and outside ownership (it's produced by Warner Bros. TV) led to the sophomore comedy's cancellation.
The Fix | The legal thriller starring Robin Tunney and executive produced by Marcia Clark got out of the gate slowly in March and has declined some since its premiere. The ABC Studios drama is among the network's lowest-rated series this season and will wrap after 10 episodes.
The Kids Are Alright | Although it held up reasonably well in the ratings after losing The Conners as a lead-in midway through the season, the 1970s-set ABC Studios comedy never really broke out either and was a below-average performer in delayed viewing. Creator Tim Doyle based the show on his own childhood; Mary McCormack and Michael Cudlitz star as parents of eight boys all living together in a three-bedroom house.
Take Two | The procedural starring Rachel Bilson and Eddie Cibrian was axed after its 13-episode run in summer 2018, marking the second straight summer ABC has failed to get a new scripted series off the ground. The co-production of StudioCanal and ABC Studios from Castle EPs Andrew Marlowe and Terri Edda Miller drew lackluster ratings. At the time of its cancellation in November, sources told THR some streaming outlets had expressed interest, but nothing has come of it.
For the People | A surprise renewal after its first season when it drew modest ratings in ABC's cursed 10 p.m. Tuesday slot, the Shondaland legal drama starring Jasmin Savoy Brown, Britt Robertson, Hope Davis and Ben Shenkman became part of the network's TGIT lineup in the spring — and put up even smaller numbers. The show was among the last to come out of Shonda Rhimes' production company before she departed ABC Studios for Netflix, and its value to ABC largely came from keeping the all-Rhimes TGIT block going after How to Get Away With Murder finished its short run. With its cancellation, the Shondaland roster is down to three shows at ABC (Grey's Anatomy, Station 19 and HTGAWM).
Murphy Brown | One of the broadcast season's bigger disappointments, the Candice Bergen-led reboot was never going to attract hordes of younger viewers, but it didn't attract all that many regardless of age: The Warner Bros. TV-produced comedy drew the smallest audience in CBS' Thursday comedy block in the fall. The multicamera comedy from creator Diane English wrapped its run after fulfilling its original 13-episode commitment. Sources noted that those close to the series were optimistic about doing additional episodes if the show worked in its return. That did not happen and CBS instead took a wait-and-see approach to how its pilots turn out before making a decision on the show.
Fam | The midseason comedy created by Corinne Kingsbury and starring Tone Bell and The Vampire Diaries fan favorite Nina Dobrev never really caught on. The series got off to a rocky start after co-showrunner Bob Kushell was fired for allegedly using inappropriate language on the set. Despite a marketable star and being owned in-house (and hailing from prolific producer Aaron Kaplan's Kapital Entertainment), Fam finished the season as CBS' second lowest-rated new comedy.
Life in Pieces | The veteran single-camera comedy from the now Disney-owned 20th TV got a very late start, not opening its fourth season until mid-April. The early returns for the multigenerational show starring Dianne Wiest, James Brolin, Colin Hanks and Zoe Lister Jones were in line with those of its predecessors in the 9:30 Thursday slot — which is to say, underwhelming. The show will run into the summer before bowing out, and for those keeping score, CBS was 0-for-3 with shows following Mom on Thursdays this season, with Murphy Brown, Fam and Life in Pieces all getting cut.
Happy Together | The writing was on the wall for the multi-camera comedy starring Damon Wayans Jr. and Amber Stevens West when it became CBS' only fall newcomer not to have its season extended. That came as something of a surprise, as Wayans signed one of the season's biggest talent deals (which included a producing pact) to join the show, based loosely on a period in EP Ben Winston's life when pop star Harry Styles lived with Winston and his wife. Happy Together ended up being CBS' lowest-rated comedy of the season.
The Big Bang Theory | The longest-running comedy in CBS history, in terms of episodes, closes its 12-year, 278-episode run on May 16. It finishes as one of the most successful broadcast shows of the 21st century, with big ratings, lucrative syndication deals for studio Warner Bros. TV and a prequel spinoff, Young Sheldon, that will carry the franchise forward. The Chuck Lorre-produced multicamera comedy is closing out its run after its Emmy-winning star Jim Parsons (Sheldon) decided that he was ready to move on. Lorre, who co-created the series alongside Bill Prady, has always maintained there is no Big Bang without Sheldon.
Elementary | The Jonny Lee Miller-Lucy Liu drama has been a cash cow for producers CBS TV Studios with foreign sales and lucrative Netflix and domestic syndication deals, but all good things must come to an end. The series, which stars Miller and Liu as a modern-day Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, wraps up with a 13-episode seventh season premiering May 23.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend | Like the other two CW shows on this list, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's end was announced before the 2018-19 season started; the network didn't cancel any of its in-season offerings. The critically praised, little-watched musical dramedy starring Rachel Bloom wrapped up its planned four-season run in early April as broadcast's lowest-rated original scripted series.
iZombie | The Rob Thomas-produced drama, based on a DC Comics property, will run into the summer as a bridge to the network's summer originals, then close up shop after five seasons. The series, which had a small but loyal flock of fans, never cut through in a way other DC Comics fare did.
Jane the Virgin | The final season of the telenovela-inspired dramedy premiered March 27 and like iZombie will continue into the summer. Spinoff Jane the Novela — narrated by Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez — has been passed over as well. Like fellow high-concept offering Crazy Ex, Jane's run was always considered to be a short-order.
Proven Innocent | Shunted to Fridays after reality stalwart Hell's Kitchen ended its season, the first-year legal drama produced by Empire's Danny Strong never made much of a case despite having a big name in Kelsey Grammer among its leads. The 20th TV-produced series is Fox's lowest-rated scripted show of the season. (Now, about that Frasier update for Grammer …)
Star | The Empire spinoff starring Queen Latifah hasn't exactly been buzzworthy, but it has been fairly stable in its third season. Where Empire has slipped 21 percent in adults 18-49 this season, Star has fallen by only 11 percent in the demo. Still, it's a middling show produced by an outside studio at a time when the network has fewer scripted needs.
Lethal Weapon | A huge, 11th-hour change at the end of season two — the hiring of Seann William Scott to replace fired co-lead Clayne Crawford — gave the Warner Bros. TV action drama a new lease on life. But the reboot of the film franchise still had its fair share of behind-the-scenes turmoil as star Damon Wayans Sr. announced his intention to quit the show at season's end. Still, Fox extended the third season by two episodes — with Wayans on board — while Miller and company adjusted the production to better accommodate its vocal star. In the end, though, the moves couldn't carry the series to a fourth season in the shrunken primetime window Fox has in 2019-20.
The Cool Kids | The multi-cam comedy set at a retirement community put up decent ratings behind Last Man Standing on Friday nights, but it's gone after a single season. The show hailed from FX Productions and 20th TV (now both part of Disney) and counted Charlie Day among its exec producers; David Alan Grier, Martin Mull, Leslie Jordan and Vicki Lawrence starred. Fox is giving Fridays over to WWE Smackdown in the fall, reducing the available space in primetime, and has picked up family comedy Outmatched as its only live-action comedy thus far.
The Passage | Based on Justin Cronin's best-selling book trilogy, the 20th TV-produced thriller quietly racked up solid numbers in its 10-episode run to become Fox's No. 3 drama in 2018-19 behind the renewed 911 and Empire. But it's one and done for the Mark-Paul Gosselaar-led series as the network is forging ahead with a quartet of new dramas next season.
The Gifted | Marvel's television series are now all housed at Disney-owned networks after Fox canceled this X-Men-adjacent drama starring Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker after two seasons. While synergy likely played a larger part of the cancellation, ratings didn't help The Gifted make much of a case: It fell by 45 percent vs. season one in adults 18-49. Not helping matters was that the drama from showrunner Matt Nix started out being owned in-house and ended as a Disney property.
Gotham | After five seasons and an even 100 episodes — the magic number for a syndication deal — the Batman prequel from Warner Bros. TV starring Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue and David Mazouz ended its run in April. WBTV made an eleventh-hour deal last May to help get the series to the syndication threshold that saw the studio absorb some of the production costs in a bid to make the drama more attractive to Fox.
Rel | The multicamera comedy starring and inspired by the life of comedian Lil Rel Howery (The Carmichael Show, Get Out) was one of only a handful of rookie series this season not to receive a back order for additional episodes. The 20th TV-produced comedy from exec producer Jerrod Carmichael never really caught on behind Family Guy.
Love Connection | The Andy Cohen-hosted revival of the 1980s dating show from Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss and Warner Horizon was canceled in February after two summer runs. Fox has said it hopes to find other projects to work on with Cohen.
I Feel Bad | NBC tried to give the Amy Poehler-produced comedy starring Sarayu Blue and Paul Adelstein a boost by debuting it early behind the finale of America's Got Talent. Once it moved to its regular home, however, the Universal TV show fizzled with audiences and was the network's only fall newcomer not to earn a back order.
Marlon | The multicamera comedy, loosely inspired by Marlon Wayans' life as a loving father committed to co-parenting with his polar-opposite ex-wife, was canceled in December after two seasons — the most recent of which, in summer 2018, suffered sizable ratings losses without America's Got Talent as a lead-in. Ownership by Universal TV couldn't save it.
Midnight, Texas | Based on Charlaine Harris' book series, the supernatural drama starring Francois Arnaud had a solid run in summer 2017 — good enough for NBC to move the Universal Television-produced show to an in-season berth. Airing on Fridays, however, it lost a good portion of its season one audience and ended as NBC's lowest-rated series of the season.
Trial & Error | Despite its status as a cult favorite, NBC axed the Warner Bros.-produced anthology comedy — with the legal team lead by stars Nick D'Agosto, Jayma Mays, Steven Boyer and Sherri Shepherd as connective tissue — after two seasons. The studio tried to find a new home for the true-crime parody but was unsuccessful.
Keep track of all the renewals, cancellations and new show orders with THR's scorecards for ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW and with all the latest pilot pickups and passes with our handy guide. For complete coverage, bookmark THR.com/upfronts.