New show update: Freshman programs get the ax


After weeks of wavering, the broadcast networks finally canceled some freshman primetime shows.

Last week, NBC canceled Thursday night comedies Bad Judge and A to Z, two shows who never had a chance to succeed, given they were just time-filler material for the network until The Blacklist takes over their slot in February.

On Sunday, Fox finally got rid of the Utopia embarrassment, a reality project which saw a $50 million investment go right down the drain.

Earlier, ABC canceled Manhattan Love Story, becoming the first primetime show on the broadcast nets to be canceled this season.

Both Bad Judge and A to Z  are scheduled to complete their thirteen-episode commitments, so they’ll stay until The Blacklist claims the time slot in February. Recently, both sitcoms finished fourth behind ABC’s Scandal and sports telecasts on CBS and Fox.

As for T Dog Media TV Hall Of Shame nominee Utopia, the series returned from hiatus on October 31 and earned only a 0.5 rating in the adults 18-49 demo. Scheduled to run twice a week, the Tuesday edition was already pulled mere weeks after its debut. Viewers were suckered to pay $4.99 a month to access the 24/7 live feed of the show.

Generally, reality series are affordable to produce and become quickly profitable. But Utopia was a big-budget mess with so much invested in the program. Not only their was on-camera turmoil on the show (WWE/Jerry Springer-type conflict was quite evident), there was also turmoil behind-the-scenes as The Wrap documented on Sunday.

The series was panned by critics, with Utopia achieving only a 38 score on Metacritic and a 33 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Given this, Utopia no doubt would rank as one of the worst new shows of the year.

The rush of cancellations come as the good numbers the broadcast networks had earned at the start of the season evaporated by the start of the November sweeps. Already, a third of the new comedies premiered this fall have been canceled, and two more (Mulaney and Selfie) are on the brink. Be prepared for the inevitable question media pundits will be asking once again: “Is the sitcom dying”?

Meanwhile, CBS has renewed all of its freshmen dramas: NCIS: New Orleans, Scorpion, Madam Secretary, and Stalker.