Bubble Bustin’ Friday – which even extended to Saturday – sure lived up to its name as the major networks – namely ABC, NBC, and CBS – began to clear out the deadwood as they prepare for the upcoming week’s upfront presentations.
Some of the moves were expected; others (notably the cancellation of Community) generated a firestorm of controversy on social media, especially on Twitter. When the dust settled, a whopping 23 shows across five networks were canceled over a span of four days.
Here’s the rundown of who made it – and who didn’t:
– Is Robert Irsay (the late Colts owner who moved his team from Baltimore to Indianapolis in the middle of the night) running ABC? The network canceled two shows in the wee hours of Friday morning (Trophy Wife, Mixology) and renewed one early Saturday morning (Nashville, thanks to some TIF adjustments…)
Also receiving a vote of confidence (at least during daylight hours) was Friday sitcom Last Man Standing, which likely prepares itself for an off-network syndication sale in 2015 or 2016 as the Tim Allen sitcom now enters its fourth season.
Not so lucky was Suburgatory (won’t miss typing this name as I often misspell it) and Super Fun Night – both were canceled. But ABC did make two last-minute pilot pickups: sitcoms Fresh Off The Boat, which is about an Asian family from American Dad’s Nahnatchka Khan, and Cristela, from stand-up comic Cristela Alonzo.
– NBC cut midseason dramas Believe and Crisis, as the network pulled both series from their Sunday night time slots for a SNL special, with NBC also whacking Dracula and Revolution, which aside from losing its post-Voice time slot to The Blacklist (which even put up better numbers), lost its way in its sophomore season with a go-nowhere plot and became boring to watch.
But the series generating the biggest outcry was the cancellation of Community. The news sent fans into a frenzy, decrying the move on social media, with #darkesttimeline (created from series star Joel McHale) and #savegreendale trending on Twitter all day. As an observer of the TV business for nearly 30 years, I have never seen an outpouring of anguish over any series canceled after five or more seasons as I’ve seen with Community.
– There will a vacancy at the Trump International Tower on Wabash this fall: CBS’ The Crazy Ones, which used the new Chicago hotel as a setting for the show, was canceled after one season. Also gone is Bad Teacher (after four episodes), Hostages, Intelligence, and Friends With Better Lives.
On the other hand – and to the surprise of many – CBS did renew The Mentalist for a fifth season.
Watch this space as yours truly analyzes the fall lineups as Upfront Week begins on Monday.