11:21am PT by Kate Stanhope, Lesley Goldberg, Michael O'Connell, Bryn Elise Sandberg
NBC Cancels 'Heartbeat,' 'Crowded,' 'Telenovela,' 'Undateable' and 'Game of Silence'
NBC has canceled the freshman dramas Heartbeat and Game of Silence, first-year comedies Crowded and Telenovela, and third-year comedy Undateable, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Game of Silence, the Sony Pictures Television drama starring David Lyons, Michael Raymond-James and Larenz Tate as childhood friends whose past comes back to haunt them was one of the buzziest dramas heading into the season with insiders declaring it a dark cable-like series. However, critics were less than kind with THR's Daniel Fienberg noting that the revenge drama "offers secrets and lies, but very little compelling mystery." Through only a handful of episodes, the Thursday drama has averaged a lackluster 1.2 rating among adults 18-49 and 5.5 million total viewers.
Ordered straight-to-series in January 2015, Telenovela was part of NBC's larger push for diversity (see: Jennifer Lopez's Shades of Blue and America Ferrera's Superstore, which were both already renewed). However, unlike lead-in Superstore, which averaged an impressive 2.1 rating, Telenovela didn't quite catch on. Despite a strong lead-in and Longoria's A-list status, the comedy produced in-house by Universal Television, averaged a tepid 1.3 rating.
Undateable seemed to have a real good thing going before its move to Friday. Comedy was almost a nonentity on NBC's fall schedule, and that became even more apparent when the scheduling shift saw its lone returning show sink in the ratings. Even a stunt-y and very NBC shift to all live telecasts couldn't goose Bill Lawrence's stand-up-friendly sitcom, which only pulled a 1.0 rating among adults 18-49 and 3.3 million viewers — and that's with time-shifting. Off the air since January, NBC clearly wasn't bullish on the show — or most of its sitcoms — a fact that was emphasized by the early renewals of almost everything else on its schedule. On the comedy front, only Superstore got the commitment for another run, a status Undateable — from indie studio Warner Bros. Television — boasted this time last year.
It was a rocky season for the first-year medical drama Heartbeat, which was originally set to premiere in the fall but was then pushed back to midseason to accommodate star Melissa George's pregnancy. NBC subsequently moved up the premiere of its other freshman hospital-set series, Chicago Med, which opened to strong numbers in November. With no lead-in and no Chicago-esque franchise to rely on, Heartbeat averaged just a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49. Reviews also didn't help inject any life into the Grey's Anatomy ripoff.
NBC's midseason family comedy Crowded, starring Patrick Warburton, Carrie Preston and Miranda Cosgrove, has banked on its all-too-relatable concept — a pair of empty nesters whose later-in-life plans backfire when their two adult daughters move back home — to resonate with middle-aged viewers. While the comedy from Sean Hayes and Hot in Cleveland's Suzanne Martin got off to a good start with its March debut, it dipped in its subsequent move to Sundays, where it averages a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49. Even with veteran multicam comedy players like James Burrows — who directed the pilot — involved, the series received lackluster reviews, with THR chief TV critic Tim Goodman calling it"a throwback to worse, less funny days of TV." What's more, NBC has a long roster of family pilots to select from as the network looks to re-establish itself in the comedy space.
NBC has already picked up several new dramas for next year including spinoff Chicago Justice, Midnight, Texas, dramedy This Is Us, a Taken adaptation and Emerald City. The network's new comedies include Mike Schur's The Good Place, the DC Comics workplace comedy Powerless and the legal spoof Trial & Error.
NBC's other cancellations include first-year series The Player and Truth Be Told.