UPDATED: I hear that ABC Family has canceled freshman drama The Nine Lives of Chloe King after one season, while giving a back 12 order to another freshman, The Lying Game. Both are based on Alloy books and have been soft in the ratings. Nine Lives opened in June with 2.2 million viewers. The Lying Game launched last month with 1.4 million viewers. ABC Family’s breakout summer hit, Switched at Birth, has been renewed for a second season.
It is not last year’s bloodbath when CBS canceled seven series, but the network did some bloodletting today with the demise of freshmen The Defenders, $#*! My Dad Says and Mad Love. They join midseason drama Chaos, which was canceled after a couple of weeks on the air. From the freshman class of 2011, still fighting for its life is spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, while Mike & Molly, Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods are locks to return. Not being featured on the cancellation list today is certainly an encouraging sign for the chances of Suspect Behavior, which may undergo some retooling if renewed.
I’ve been reporting these and dribs and drabs but here is a full list:
ABC: DRAMAS Identity, Hallelujah, Grace, Georgetown, Poe, Partners. COMEDIES: My Freakin’ Family, Other People’s Kids, Bad Mom, Lost & Found.
NBC: DRAMAS Wonder Woman, Reconstruction, A Mann’s World, Metro, 17the Precinct; COMEDIES: Brave New World, I Hate That I Love You, Untitled Kari Lizer, Lovelives, My Life As An Experiment, Family Practice (aka Dan Goor)
In Other News: ‘Body Of Proof’ Picked Up, ‘Better With You’, ‘Mr. Sunshine’, ‘No Ordinary Family’, ‘Off The Map’ ‘Outsourced’ Dead
UPDATED: Pickup news flashes are flying fast and furious today, so some have fallen through the cracks as I try to stay afloat. Here are some notable renewal/cancellations: As expected, Body of Proof became the second ABC freshman series after Happy Endings to make the cut for a second season. Better With You, Off the Map, No Ordinary Family and Mr. Sunshine are canceled. Also dead is NBC’s freshman comedy Outsourced.
UPDATE: No surprise there – NBC has pulled the plug on the low-rated sci-fi drama The Event, which started off strongly but quickly fizzled. But there is a twist, and it’s not only the big surprise planned by the producers for the finale. Talks are underway with at least one distribution partner to take over the serialized drama. The Event executive producer Steve Stark wouldn’t comment, but I hear new original programming player Netflix’s name tossed around. Word is that there has been interest from several cable and digital entities. Stark said that they are exploring the opportunities with the “full support” of the studio, UMS. “NBC has been an amazing partner, it launched the show beautifully,” he said. Added creator Nick Wauters: “We have a dedicated fan base, and we promised them we will deliver one way or another and will continue to tell our stories.”
It’s one and out for NBC’s latest Law & Order spinoff. I hear the network just canceled Law & Order: Los Angeles. It is hard to imagine what more NBC could do with the series. After a slow start, the network put the series on hiatus. Dick Wolf did a complete overhaul, bumping up Alfred Molina and Terrence Howard, letting go of several cast members, including Skeet Ulrich, and bringing in Law & Order veteran Alana De La Garza. But after a wide marketing campaign, the crime drama relaunched to ratings that were lower than the unimpressive numbers for its original run. LOLA did get a second chance at a complete reboot, something very few shows get. Its demise underscores the fact that, while dreaded and sometimes outrageously expensive, TV pilots serve a purpose. LOLA was hastily picked up straight-to-series as NBC canceled the mothership Law & Order series last May. The show tried to make amends midstream, but that is hard to do that after a poor launch.
3RD UPDATE: Fox Cancels Comedies ‘Breaking In’ & ‘Traffic Light’ And Dramas ‘Lie To Me’, ‘Human Target’ & ‘Chicago Code’
UPDATED: Fringe got lucky to score an early renewal because no other bubble show got a reprieve at Fox. The network tonight axed all others: the Tim Roth-starring procedural Lie To Me, sophomore drama Human Target and freshmen The Chicago Code, Traffic Light and Breaking In. That is in contrast with last May, when it renewed all three of its bubble dramas, Lie To Me, Human Target and Fringe. While Human Target and Lie To Me had been long shots after soft second- and third-season runs and Chicago Code and Traffic Light‘s fate had been sealed for a while, especially with Chicago Code creator Shawn Ryan moving from 20th TV to Sony, the yanking of Breaking In was very surprising as the comedy launched strong behind American Idol, posting Fox’s highest ratings for live-action comedy series in three years. It has since slipped but was considered a solid contender for renewal as it had shown promise and had done much better than two other freshman live-action Fox comedies, Traffic Light and Running Wilde. Breaking In beat the odds once, when Fox passed on the pilot last season, before getting resurrected with a midseason order. But its luck ran out. And so the Christian Slater curse continues …
UPDATED: Both episodes were low-rated. (The premiere ranked as NBC’s lowest-rated in-season comedy series premiere ever with a 1.1/3 in adults 18-49, and the show tumbled 18% to a 0.9/3 last night.) Even ads for The Paul Reiser Show were annoying, even though I like him. I understand that NBC’s new brass was “reluctant” but felt the network “had to replace” Reiser with The Office repeats. An insider just told me: “We were hopeful about Paul’s show, but we had to make the decision to protect The Office since we have very important episodes in the coming weeks with Steve Carell’s exit and Will Ferrell’s guest shots.” Also worth noting is that NBC’s new admin is “still trying to deal with several other shows carried over from the previous regime” besides Reiser: Friends With Benefits and Love Bites. This statement to me from inside NBC sums it up: “Bob Greenblatt inherited nothing but shit.”
FRONS SPEAKS: ABC Daytime Chief Explains Why ‘AMC’ & ‘OLTL’ Were Axed; Says ‘GH’ Is “Safe For Time Being”
EXCLUSIVE: ABC’s daytime president Brian Frons is the most hated man among soap fans today after the announcement that the network is canceling both All My Children and One Life To Live. He even quipped that he “pre-entered the witness protection program prior to today’s events.” The demise of the two venerable soaps was actually a year in the making, Frons tells me. “A year ago, we started to look at our projections where the ratings for the soaps would go,” he said. When those projections came in pretty discouraging, the network began to aggressively develop replacement shows, 15 of them. Four of the 15 were picked up to pilot: The Chew, The Revolution and two others, a talk show and a dating show. Originally, the idea was to cancel only one daytime drama, Frons said. But “the way the ratings developed and the pilots turned out, the ratings developed negatively and pilots developed positively, so we decided to make a bigger shift.”
The call to go ahead with canceling a daytime soap was made a couple of weeks ago, while the final decision to axe both AMC and OLTL was made within the past week, Frons said. He confirmed that there was a brief discussion about a year ago to combine the two soaps into one, bringing together some of the best characters from each series. “It was one of my craziest ideas,” Frons said. Other crazy ideas he had for the soaps’ slots? “I looked at (Bravo executive/talk show host) Andy Cohen and thought maybe I should have talk show.”
While ABC also developed more traditional daytime fare like talk and game shows, genres CBS recently used to replace its soaps The Guiding Light and As the World Turns, the network ultimately opted for more non-traditional fare with The Chew and The Revolution, both hybrid unscripted/talk shows. That was by design, said Frons, noting that he was following advice by his former boss at NBC Brandon Tartikoff not to go for shows others already have on.
“I wanted to do shows that were unusual for daytime,” Frons said. “What’s happening now is people are looking for information to make their lives better, they’re obsessed about what they eat and they’re obsessed with weight,” Frons said about going with The Chew and The Revolution, whose titles were chosen to complement ABC’s daytime talk show The View, with which they are designed to run in a “block of talk and information that you can build your day around,” Frons said. It probably doesn’t hurt that the new shows are also much cheaper to produce than the two soaps they are replacing, even after AMC was moved from New York to Los Angeles in 2009 to cut costs. Frons declined to discuss the size of the orders to The Chew and The Revolution but noted that “daytime shows take awhile” to take hold, indicating that ABC will give both series time to establish themselves.
As for the only remaining ABC daytime drama, General Hospital, it is safe “for the time being,” Frons said, adding, “We feel very positive about its place on the schedule.”
UPDATED: FX has decided not to renew freshman boxing drama Lights Out for a second season. Lights Out was one of the most critically praised new series this season, punctuated by a breakout performance by Holt McCallany as the title character, a washed-out former heavyweight champion looking for a comeback. But, just like with FX’s now-defunct drama Terriers last fall, Lights Out never found traction in the ratings, leading to FX’s decision to cancel it after one season. It premiered in January with 1.5 million viewers and slipped further throughout its run, averaging 863,000 viewers per first-run episode vs. 2.7 million for Justified.
FX president John Landgraf praised the quality of the show and McCallany’s performance and said that in the end, it all came down to Lights Out’s subject matter “The audience didn’t want to watch a show about boxing,” he said. “We never got any traction” during the pre- and post-launch marketing and publicity campaign. Landgraf said that he is not concerned by having two new series in row, Terriers and Lights Out strike out. “That’s baseball,” he said. “If you put on 4 shows, two of them work, Sons of Anarchy and Justified, and the other two are Terriers and Lights Out, that’s pretty good.”