EXCLUSIVE: I hear ABC‘s last-minute third-season renewal of Suburgatory as midseason replacement came with a reduction in the license fee, which is leading to budget cuts and some tough choices. I’ve learned that two of the series’ eight regulars, Alan Tudyk and Rex Lee, have not been picked up for next season. They could potentially appear as guest stars. I hear there may be further trims, with other regulars potentially being cut or reduced to recurring. Suburgatory‘s remaining regular cast includes stars Jane Levy and Jeremy Sisto as well as Cheryl Hines, Carly Chaikin, Ana Gasteyer and Allie Grant. Both Tudyk and Lee have been on the show since the beginning. Lee, who plays the high school’s guidance counselor, was a guest star in the pilot but was promoted to regular right after. Tudyk playes Sisto’s trusted, country club-loving friend. Suburgatory was a breakout hit when it launched in fall 2011 but lost steam, ratings-wise and creatively, in Season 2, ending up on the bubble.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
At today’s final TCA panel on the ABC single-camera comedy Suburgatory — the story of a bright urban teenager (Jane Levy) whose single Dad (Jeremy Sisto) moves her to the “white-picket-fence nightmare” of the suburbs — show creator and executive producer Emily Kapnek said she was not influenced by the ABC family hit Pretty Little Liars in creating the fictional wealthy suburb these characters inhabit. Rather, Kapnek said, she was more inspired by the tone of ABC’s long-running life-in-the-suburbs hit Desperate Housewives, now entering its eighth and final season. She called Suburgatory “more satirical’” than Pretty Little Liars, with its suburbia featuring a “horror, zombieland quality” similar to what she sees in Housewives. Kapnek said the town is a healthy split between a realistic, contemporary atmosphere and a “stylized, evergreen suburbia.” But Kapnek’s biggest inspiration for the show was reality: her own experience moving from an urban environment with a single parent into a suburb “where families didn’t look like ours and we didn’t’ have as much as they did … there was an economic divide, there were expensive bat mitzvahs … [the difference was] all of the fortune the kids had, and the families were incredibly intact.”