The premium cable network has canceled the freshman comedy after one season, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Happyish, created, written and executive produced by This American Life‘s contributor and first-time showrunner Shalom Auslander, had a particularly long and challenged road to screen, with star Philip Seymour Hoffman passing away just weeks after wrapping the series’ pilot. After an extensive casting search during the latter part of 2014, veteran actor Steve Coogan stepped in to replace the late star in the dark satirical dramedy.
Showtime CEO David Nevins, for whom Happyish was a passion project, initially wowed critics with a clip of the Seymour pilot at TCA, with many declaring the series and the late actor an Emmy shoo-in. Following the actor’s death, the comedy was re-piloted, with only a few of the show’s original stars, led by Kathryn Hahn, returning. The new cast was filled out by Bradley Whitford and Ellen Barkin.
“If it had just been a pilot, I probably would have thrown in the towel,” Nevins told THR in April. The executive was sitting on five additional episodes (of 10) that Auslander already had written, and he found himself hooked. “I loved the idea of a show about that moment in midlife, midcareer when you say, ‘Is it all worth it?’ These kind of comedies don’t grow on trees.”
The series, which first sold to Showtime in the fall of 2011 as Pigs in Shit, launched this spring to just 430,000 total viewers and mixed reviews in. More recently, it failed to break into the Emmy race, where other Showtime series including Episodes, Homeland and outgoing vet Nurse Jackie were rewarded. Nevins has long been patient with soft ratings, provided the cabler’s original scripted fare cuts through with critics or awards voters.
Happyish marks a rare miss for Nevins, under whom all of the network’s originals have been granted sophomore seasons. The network will launch comedy Dice next year. Additionally, Showtime is reworking its Cameron Crowe comedy pilot Roadies to potentially join a half-hour lineup that already houses Episodes and House of Lies.