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To say it’s challenging to cut through in a Peak TV landscape where the number of scripted series is expected to top 500 in 2018 is an understatement. And to break through in the broadcast space — where you’re competing for eyeballs against scores of other scripted fare on at the same time on top of cable and streaming content? That’s even harder.
From freshman shows who had dreams of becoming the next This Is Us to veteran hits whose time has come to an end, The Hollywood Reporter rounds up all the broadcast series that came to an end during the 2017-18 broadcast season — and why.
This post will be updated through upfronts with the latest news.
Despite a recent ratings injection thanks to lead-in Roseanne, the veteran series was produced by an outside studio (Warner Bros. Television) — meaning the network did not have an ownership stake and had to pay a licensing fee for the Patricia Heaton-led single-camera comedy. Season nine was its last.
Once Upon a Time
A year after undergoing a major creative reboot with nearly all of its original stars exiting, ABC tried to open a new chapter in the Disney-themed fairy tale drama. The reboot, starring Andrew J. West, fizzled in its new home on Fridays. Despite the corporate synergy, the Adam Horowitz- and Eddy Kitsis-created drama is ending after seven seasons.
Despite a timely premise, the single-camera effort about an aspiring rapper who runs for mayor as a PR move and wins failed to cut through the cluttered landscape. Even strong reviews and a big marketing push for the Brandon Micheal Hall and Lea Michele comedy couldn’t help it register votes.
The Paula Patton-led drama, a co-production with ITV Studios, was picked up straight to series and aired in summer 2017. Despite a name lead in Patton, the drama about a mother who attempts to change the fate of her daughter’s murder limped off the schedule with less than 2 million total viewers as ABC had better luck with its unscripted series in the typically little-watched season.
Ten Days in the Valley
The Kyra Sedgwick drama from the creator of Rookie Blue launched in October in the prime Sundays at 10 p.m. slot where it struggled to cut through the clutter. After four episodes, the series about a TV writer whose child is kidnapped was burned off on Saturdays.
The Shonda Rhimes-created series bid farewell in April after seven seasons. The Washington, D.C.-set political soap made history for star Kerry Washington, who became the first African-American woman to topline a primetime drama series in nearly 40 years. Rhimes, who left ABC Studios last summer for a nine-figure deal at Netflix, always stressed that the drama would never have a run similar to Grey’s Anatomy given the way the writers burned through story. The series also helped usher in a new era of inclusion on screen and off, helping Rhimes become a global brand of her own.
The Kiefer Sutherland-led drama has been canceled after two seasons and four showrunner changes. The ABC Studios political drama from the Mark Gordon Co. had a lucrative SVOD pact with Netflix and was a strong international player but ultimately, sources say, was still struggling to find a direction that would draw linear viewers as a search for a fifth showrunner was said to be underway before the cancellation.
The Priyanka Chopra terrorism drama returned in late April with a new showrunner and an abbreviated episode count. After being off the air for nearly a year, the premiere opened to a lackluster 0.5 in the adults 18-49 demo and less than 3 million total viewers — tying its series low. Strong international sales were not enough to save the ABC Studios-produced drama, which has been canceled after three seasons.
Starring Steve Zahn and Natalie Martinez, the sci-fi thriller launched quietly in April and has been averaging a 0.9 in the demo, growing to a 1.5 with seven days of DVR. The ABC Studios-produced drama took over for The Good Doctor on Mondays and has been airing with little fanfare. It’s been canceled after one season.
The Greg Berlanti– and Martin Gero-produced drama about a magician (Jack Cutmore-Scott) who partners with the FBI to help solve crimes has struggled to cut through on Sundays. The Warner Bros. Television drama, which opened to poor reviews, has averaged a 1.4 in the demo — with seven days of DVR. It will not return for a second season.
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World
The drama about a down-on-his-luck guy (Jason Ritter) who is tasked by God with a mission to save the world earned a spot on the fall schedule after ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey was looking to pepper her schedule with lighter fare. From ABC Studios and Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, the drama averaged a 1.1 in the key demo after wrapping its 16-episode run in March. The series will not return for a second season.
The critically panned Marvel drama starring Anson Mount was picked up straight to series with Imax on board to launch the series in theaters. While the idea was great on paper, the series was critically panned and limped off the schedule in the fall averaging only a 1.2 in the demo and 4 million total viewers (with seven days of DVR). For his part, Mount already booked a follow-up and has joined season two of CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery.
The Zach Braff-led single-camera comedy, from Sony TV and based on the podcast Start Up, revolved around a journalist who quits his stable job to open his own podcast business. The midseason comedy had been averaging a 1.0 in the adults 18-49 demographic and adding a modest 30 percent with seven days of delayed viewing. The comedy will not return for a second season.
Kevin Can Wait
From Sony Pictures Television Studios, the Kevin James multicamera comedy made headlines at the start of season two after its decision to write out (and kill off) the character played by female lead Erinn Hayes. Hoping to capture ratings gold, James’ former King of Queens star Leah Remini was promoted to series regular. Despite the cast shake-up, the Sony Pictures Television-produced multicamera comedy will not return for a third season.
The multicamera comedy from CBS TV Studios stars Jermaine Fowler was based on the Tracy Letts play of the same name followed the relationship between a doughnut shop owner (Judd Hirsch) and his young employee (played by Fowler) and their patrons in a gentrifying neighborhood of Chicago. Like Man With a Plan, the series was held for midseason in its sophomore outing but became a solid pinch-hitter and went on to earn a full-season pickup. The series will not return for a third season.
The genius drama based inspired by computer expert Walter O’Brien found itself in bubble territory for the first time after a run of series lows in its fourth season. The genius drama starring Elyes Gabriel and Katharine McPhee was owned in-house at CBS Television Studios, with even that not being enough to help save the series. It will not return for season five.
Me, Myself and I
The critically panned Bobby Moynihan-led Boyhood-style comedy was bumped from its Monday home after six low-rated episodes. Seven additional episodes were produced and remain unaired (and unscheduled).
The comedy inspired by the life of Mark Feuerstein and his TV-writer wife Dana Klein scored three additional episodes to its initial order for 13. It limped off the schedule in February and is not expected back.
Wisdom of the Crowd
Amid a CBS investigation into sexual assault around star Jeremy Piven, the network opted to let the rookie drama about a tech innovator who creates a crowdsourcing hub to help fight crime end after its initial 13-episode order. The series never performed for CBS and ranked as its least-watched show on Sundays. (Wisdom was also a co-production with Universal Television, so the network only had a sliver of ownership on it.)
Executive produced by Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki, the CBS comedy was a favorite of former entertainment chief Glenn Geller and was based on the book The Year of Living Biblically. Starring Jay R. Ferguson, the comedy was pulled from CBS’ Monday lineup after eight episodes and replaced by Big Bang repeats after its most recent episode notched a series low of 3.5 million total viewers.
The Vampire Diaries spinoff will wrap its run this year after five seasons, though the franchise will continue on as The CW is mulling another spinoff from showrunner Julie Plec.
Despite a proven star in Pretty Little Liars grad Lucy Hale, the rookie drama from Warner Bros. Television and Bill Lawrence was bounced off the schedule and later moved to Fridays after mustering a 0.1 among adults 18-49. It is not expected to return.
The Matt Barr- and Christina Ochoa-led military drama — a passion project for The CW president Mark Pedowitz — will be honorably discharged at the network. Launched in the fall, the series was one of multiple military dramas to air in the 2017-18 broadcast season. The show failed to cut through and wrapped its run after its initial 13-episode order with The CW opting to put its faith in its Dynasty reboot, which has a lucrative deal with Netflix working in its favor. For his part, Barr was rewarded for his service with the lead in The CW pilot Skinny Dip.
While not a ratings breakout, the Andy Samberg cop comedy from exec producers Dan Goor and Mike Schur remains a critical favorite. Sources note the series went into its current fifth season with an eye toward an endgame. That the single-camera comedy is produced by an outside studio — Universal Television — did not help the series, which will not return for a sixth season. Ultimately, the series came with a larger price tag and a licensing fee that didn’t work with what Fox could ultimately become post-Disney merger. A day after Fox’s cancellation, NBC revived the comedy for a 13-episode sixth season.
The Last Man on Earth
The post-apocalyptic comedy created by and starring Will Forte has been canceled after four seasons, despite its cliffhanger finale. Sources say the single-camera comedy could be shopped to Hulu after there was brief discussion of a shortened, final-season run for the 20th TV series. Despite critical acclaim, the series became a ratings under-performer and ultimately was a victim to Fox’s push for multicamera comedies and reduced schedule space given its Thursday Night Football deal.
The Kaitlin Olson comedy from 20th TV remains an internal favorite and scored an additional seven-episode order in its sophomore season. Despite New Girl ending and broadcasters looking to program to middle America, that wasn’t enough to earn The Mick a third season given Fox’s limited schedule space.
The DC Entertainment drama from Warner Bros. Television has been canceled after three seasons, per star Tom Ellis. The drama averaged a 1.4 in the demo and 5 million total viewers with seven days of DVR. With Fox shifting to broader fare produced in-house, the comic book drama did not make sense for its new direction.
The drama starring Alfonso Herrera and Ben Daniels underwent a casting reboot in its second season as the anthology-like series from 20th TV also lost leading lady Geena Davis. Ratings slipped year-over-year as the sequel to the 1973 feature film from showrunner Jeremy Slater has been canceled.
Fox’s adorkable comedy is wrapping its run with an abbreviated seventh season. The Zooey Deschanel-led series from Liz Meriwether was originally picked up under former Fox president Kevin Reilly and was nearly canceled last year. Creator Meriwether had been vocal about closing this chapter and starting another, as she currently has three pilots in the works (with two of them at Fox and the third at ABC).
From Parenthood and Friday Night Lights showrunner Jason Katims, Josh Radnor stars as a high school drama teacher who attempts to galvanize the town with his passion for musicals. Rosie Perez, Auli’I Cravalho and Damon Gillespie star in the Universal Television drama that counts Hamilton‘s Jeffrey Seller as an exec producer.
Great News | The Tina Fey-produced workplace comedy starring Briga Heelan and Andrea Martin became part of the critical conversation in season two. That helps make up for 0.9 in the demo (with seven days of delayed viewing) that the Universal Television single-camera comedy from Tracey Wigfield scored in its sophomore outing. Still, that wasn’t enough to get it a third season.
One of multiple military dramas to air this season, the Anne Heche drama was a frontrunner last pilot season and landed the prime post-Voice slot to open the fall season. The series, co-starring Mike Vogel and from Keshet International and Universal TV, wrapped its run after its initial 13-episode order was completed. It will not see a second season.
Shades of Blue
The procedural, starring Jennifer Lopez as a cop who balances her detective job with being a parent, will wrap this year after three seasons. The series has been a midseason performer for NBC, with the network this season opting to hold it for a summer run. Lopez, who also exec produces the series, has a packed schedule and will next star in NBC’s twice-delayed live musical Bye Bye Birdie and judge the network’s unscripted series World of Dance.
The Night Shift
The Sony Pictures Television Studios-produced medical drama was a surprise performer for NBC after becoming a surprise hit in summer 2014. Inspired by its rookie run, the network held the series for a winter bow, where it failed to cut through amid increased competition. The final two seasons aired in the summer — after NBC had shifted its focus to unscripted fare in the typically little-watched season.
The reboot of the Liam Neeson film starring Clive Standen and Jennifer Beals got the hook midway through its second run. The prequel series — which featured a new showrunner for season two — returned in January to less than 3 million total viewers and a 0.5 in the adults 18-49 demographic. The remaining episodes will be taken to Saturdays after the May sweep.
Keep track of all the renewals, cancellations and new show orders with THR’s scorecards for ABC, CBS, Fox, NBCand The CWand with all the latest pilot pickups and passes with our handy guide. For complete coverage, bookmark THR.com/upfronts.
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