Fox has been having a pretty lackluster TV season thus far. While Gotham has made a positive dent in the network’s less-than-impressive ratings, the network hasn’t had a ton of luck with freshman dramas or comedies. Both Mulaney and Red Band Society have already had trouble in the ratings. Red Band Society even shut down production a couple of months ago. Now this week, Fox has finally and officially thrown in the towel.
It’s not all bad news for fans of the show. It’s not as if Fox is pulling the series from its schedule, effective immediately. TV Guide first got the scoop that the network plans to air Red Band Society’s final three episodes on Saturday nights. The drama will return to the schedule on Saturday, January 31 at 9 p.m. ET.
Red Band Society didn’t have a great outlook leading into Fox’s cancelation. The show, despite having huge leads in Octavia Spencer and Dave Annable, only managed to pull in a 1.3 rating during its premiere and 3.3 million total viewers. While those viewers seem to have mostly stuck with the show—a little over 3 million viewers tuned in for the winter finale—that hasn't been enough to justify the expense of the ensemble hospital drama.
When Red Band Society first shut down production, Fox planned to keep the show in the schedule during its regular timeslot. At the time, the network seemed to want to make the show work—if it could talk the cast and crew down to a more reasonable budget. It’s tough to be cheap when you have an Academy Award winner on your payroll (not saying this was totally Spencer’s problem; she’s obviously boss), and clearly Fox was unable to get on the same page as the production team. Thus, Red Band Society is canceled.
It’s not the first freshman show to get cut this season, either. Mulaney has also seen its episode order cut and its timeslot shifted. Fox was a little more graceful with the freshman “event series” Gracepoint, allowing the show to finish out its run before saying hell no to Season 2, but it hasn’t been a great year for freshman programs over at Fox.
On the bright side, the Batman prequel Gotham was a bright point in the network’s fall schedule, and Empire along with American Idol have done well so far at midseason. Despite a few clear misses for Fox this season, things definitely aren’t as dire as they could be, and Fox still has the Rainn Wilson-starrer Backstrom and Will Forte's The Last Man On Earth to try on for size.