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The 2019-20 TV season has its first on-air casualty: NBC has pulled the comedy Sunnyside from its Thursday spot. In its place, the network has moved up the final-season premiere of Will & Grace.
Sunnyside, co-created by and starring Kal Penn and executive produced by Mike Schur (The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine), has underperformed on air, drawing the smallest ratings of any first-year show on the Big Four networks thus far this season. After one more airing this Thursday, the network will shift the remainder of the show’s run to NBC.com, the NBC app and other digital platforms — and in a somewhat unusual move, it has ordered one additional episode to increase the series’ total for the season to 11.
Will & Grace will take over the 9:30 p.m. Thursday time period starting Oct. 24. The final season of the revival had previously been slated for a midseason start.
Sunnyside has thus far drawn a bigger audience via delayed and multiplatform viewing than it has on air: The series premiere drew a 0.4 same-day rating in the key ad demographic of adults 18-49, but has increased to 1.0 with delayed and multiplatform viewing. The show was also averaging a scant 1.4 million viewers for initial airings; seven days of delayed viewing (not including digital) has lifted the show to 2.3 million.
The remainder of Sunnyside‘s run this season could serve as an extended audition for NBCUniversal’s forthcoming streaming service, Peacock, or another outlet (Penn tweeted that the show would be shopped around). NBCU has already given a second life to A.P. Bio on Peacock after canceling the comedy’s network run in May following two modestly rated seasons. The Lorne Michaels-produced series also put up solid numbers on digital platforms, generating nearly half of its 35-day 18-49 rating via digital viewing.
Penn and Matt Murray created Sunnyside, which stars Penn as a disgraced New York City councilman who is hired by a group of people studying to become American citizens. The cast also includes Diana Maria Riva, Joel Kim Booster, Kiran Deol, Poppy Liu, Moses Storm and Samba Schutte. Penn, Murray, Schur, David Miner and Dan Spilo executive produce the Universal TV effort.
As for Will & Grace, the show’s 11th season (and third since it was revived in 2017) will run for 18 episodes and will pick up after Jack’s (Sean Hayes) wedding, Will’s (Eric McCormack) acceptance of long-distance boyfriend McCoy’s (Matt Bomer) marriage proposal and Grace’s (Debra Messing) decision to travel to Europe with a charming stranger (Veep‘s Reid Scott).
The move of Will & Grace to fall will leave NBC with three comedies in reserve for the remainder of the season: Veteran Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which is expected to return in early 2020; first-year series The Kenan Show, starring Saturday Night Live mainstay Kenan Thompson; and Indebted, starring Abby Elliott and Adam Pally. The network will bid farewell to The Good Place after four seasons early next year.
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