Bubble Bustin’ Weekend: “Murphy Brown”, “Speechless” among shows canceled

Networks sweep out bubble shows ahead of next week’s upfronts

Once again – and as predicted in this space last December, the four major broadcast networks decided to cancel all of their “bubble” shows in a short time frame, leaving fans of some of these programs in lurch for as long as five or six months – a practice I railed against in two separate pieces in the last year.

While the number of shows canceled are down from last year at this time (so far), the headlines are still glaring, i.e. “Bloodbath: 14 Shows Canceled in 24 Hours” and Black Friday (which is really dumb, given the phrase is more associated with the day after Thanksgiving sales.) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: As broadcast television networks are struggling with declining audiences, these type of collusion-type stunts makes the industry looks bad as the network TV business continues to lose credibility, in a universe where their are way too many damn scripted TV shows.

Even worse, others (namely Netflix) are now taking their lead – cancelling shows without any rhyme or reason. Isn’t streaming supposed to be alternative to this?

It just proves big media conglomerates – Netflix included – do not give a damn about their viewers. It is as if Chicago politicians are now running the media business…or is that Rahm Emanuel’s next job?

With that said:

– As expected, CBS announced the cancellation of the Murphy Brown revival after one season. The sitcom aired its last episode in December, with only a thirteen-episode order for the season as Brown was the weak link on CBS’ Thursday night lineup. Also officially out is Happy Together (who also aired in last episode in December); midseason sitcom Fam; and in a bit of a shocker, single-cam comedy Life In Pieces after four seasons. It is not known if Pieces would be offered in syndication, but a cable sale is likely.

– ABC had the most series canceled, with five getting axed: Speechless, The Fix, For The People, The Kids Are Alright, and Splitting Up Together. The biggest story from Friday however was the surprise renewal of Fresh Off The Boat – sending series star Constance Wu in a rage for some strange (and funny) reason.

– Fox announced the cancellation of The Cool Kids, a show a lot of observers turned out better than it was pitched. Both Kids and Last Man Standing are being forced off of Fridays due to WWE Smackdown arriving in October, but Last Man was renewed and is expected to land on Tuesday night, paired with a new sitcom.

Also canceled was Passage and troubled action drama Lethal Weapon; earlier Fox canceled The Gifted and Love Connection.

But the biggest surprise is the cancellation of Lee Daniels’ mediocre musical drama Star after three seasons, ending on a cliffhanger. The series is reportedly being shopped to other outlets.

– NBC only canceled one show (I Feel Bad, which like a few others had its last airing in December), but surprisingly has yet to renew This Is Us.

– Also still on the bubble as of this writing is ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier, who debuted in a late-night time slot after the Academy Awards.

In addition to the above, NBCUniversal pulled the plug on Steve Harvey’s syndicated show Friday as noted here earlier; and the Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show is ending its long run as a holiday special due to low ratings.

Keep in mind all of this can change at a drop of a hat, so follow T Dog Media on Twitter @tdogmedia for the latest and keep it here for all the latest upfront coverage.

 

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