When the sun rose this morning, none of the major broadcast network schedules look anything like they did just two short weeks ago, as this week’s upfronts presentations caused the usual panic before sacrifices were made quickly and viciously. Tons of huge shows were laid out and lifeless when the smoke cleared after the first wave of cancellations hit last week, and then more dropped like low-rated and over-budgeted flies over the next few days.
Here are 10 more unfortunate series that did not survive to make it to their respective networks’ next fall or midseason premiere slates. They’ll all be replaced in a few months, and unless another network or streaming service steps in to offer a second chance – you’ll be hearing those words again later – this could be the very last time you hear about them.
Rush Hour, CBS
Remaking one of the top action comedy film franchises would seem like a safe bet for a network getting in on the film-to-TV trend. Unfortunately, CBS chose Rush Hour, whose big screen success was based largely on the exclusive-to-them talents of stunt-maestro Jackie Chan and the decibel-imploding mania that is Chris Tucker. Actors Jon Foo and Justin Hires just couldn’t compare, and the dynamic of a Chinese cop partnered with a black cop doesn’t have the on-screen exoticism it once did. Mediocre stories couldn’t make up for any finer points, and the below-5 million weekly audience did not compute with CBS’ execs, and the show was cancelled without a chance for Season 2.
Undateable was quite the odd duck on NBC, debuting in the midseason in 2014 to low ratings and middling reviews, but still outlasting other comedies debuting in that season. The second season got shifted to Tuesday nights, where the ratings and word of mouth grew, and the success of a live episode inspired the creative team to make the show live each week, which opened up a slew of possibilities for how the cast could interact with fans via social media as the show was airing. Unfortunately, NBC put Season 3 on Friday nights, where the ratings once again plummeted, and the announcement that Season 4 wasn’t happening was unsurprising.
Heartbeat is one of the entries on this list that is most likely to make you tilt your head to the side and say “That was a show?” Debuting just under two months ago, Heartbeat stars Melissa George as a heart-transplant surgeon at a research hospital where progress is a frequent occurrence, and they do things like give stem cell treatments to car accident victims who talk backwards. Dipping ratings and critical panning sealed this series’ fate right out of the double doors, but NBC did let eight episodes pass before officially calling the time of death on the medical drama.
Minority Report, Fox
Understanding that small screen adaptations of movies don’t always have to be down-the-middle remakes, Fox let Godzilla scribe Max Borenstein put together a serialized sequel to Steven Spielberg’s 2002 sci-fi actioner Minority Report that took place a decade later. Unfortunately, a lot of this show was a slog to go through to get to the legitimately cool science fiction moments. But there could have been an endless stream of award-worthy scenes and it still wouldn’t have gotten a second season with dismal ratings that only sometimes got above 2 million viewers during the live airing. No one needed any prediction powers to figure out this was ending soon.
Crowded was created by Suzanne Martin, who created TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland, co-created The Soul Man and created Lifetime’s The Client List. And the comedy level here certainly reflected that more broad approach. The solid cast was headed by Carrie Preston and Patrick Warburton, who wasn’t able to even consider reprising The Tick for the upcoming Amazon series because of this show, and the plot centered on their temporarily peaceful home being taken over by their adult daughters and Warburton’s father (yeah, Stacy Keach!) and stepmother. Despite a rise in the ratings thanks in part to a Betty White cameo, Crowded was never going to draw big audiences, and NBC once again excised a freshman comedy before all of its episodes had aired.
The Mysteries of Laura, NBC
The Mysteries of Laura admittedly seemed like it had all the elements to last a decade on the air, from having a popular lead in Debra Messing to the police procedural aspect to the mildly comedic family drama. Not that combinations of good things automatically equal good things, and Mysteries of Laura was the target of quite a bit of negative criticism in its two seasons on the air. The show drew in big audiences, and although Season 2 definitely dipped overall from the first year, the now-series finale was watched by more people than Season 1’s capper. Weird way to make a decision, NBC.
Second Chance, Fox
Second Chance is a modernization of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein tale – strike one – centering on a former sheriff who finds a new lease on life when his youth is restored, complete with super-strength that wasn’t there the first time around. The show was first called The Frankenstein Code when it was first picked up as a last-minute choice, and it then became Lookinglass – strike two – before Second Chance was landed on. Also, it went through months of delays before finally getting dumped on Wednesdays in the midseason for two episodes before getting shoved to Friday nights, where it was buried beneath its ratings in a shallow grave. I think we’re at strike five now.
It’s such a shame that Telenovela didn’t work out on NBC, though the show can hardly be the biggest source of faults here. Created by Steel Magnolias writer Robert Harling and Cougar Town writer/producers Jessica Goldstein and Chriss Pietrosh, Telenovela was a return to form for Eva Longoria as the non-Spanish star of a Spanish soap opera produced in Miami. The comedy was a playful take on the show-within-a-show structure that for once didn’t involve a talk show or a sketch series. Unfortunately, not even sweaty muscles and well-lit living rooms were enough to keep audiences tuning in on a weekly basis, and NBC said no mas.
Game of Silence
Not something you’d want to play with a room full of toddlers, NBC’s Game of Silence is a drama based on the Turkish series of the same translated name, itself based on a true story of three children who spent years in prison for stealing a dessert. The U.S. narrative picked up with the past-sharing lads as adults, when two of them threaten to expose the other, who is in a much more powerful position than they are. How will it all end? I have no idea. NBC canceled the show with four episodes in the first season still left to air. As of now, that’s still happening, but don’t be surprised if further drooping ratings get it pulled altogether.
House of Lies
Lookie, lookie! We got ourselves a cable series over here with all the lowly broadcast network output. Unlike everything else on this list, House of Lies has been given a just and mostly deserved number of seasons, with Showtime deciding that the currently airing Season 5 will be the last. Not that this had nothing to do with ratings, since there are far fewer people watching this season’s episodes as compared to seasons past. It’ll be a shame to see a split happen between stars Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz, Josh Lawson and the plethora of recurring actors, but hopefully bigger and better things are coming.
To see what else got put on the chopping block before these shows, check out the list here.
To see how all of your other favorite shows have fared, head to our network rundown. But if all this cancellation news has got you bummed and in need of something to ogle your woes away, check out our summer premiere schedule to see everything that’s coming to your TV over the next few months.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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