As much as TV viewers would love for our favorite shows to last forever, that kind of good fortune just isn't in the cards for everyone. As it usually goes, the closer it gets to all the big May finales, the closer networks get to pulling the plug on shows that just weren't working out like everyone had hoped. Many of these are new shows, but there are a couple of returning series whose futures look more doomed than not.
Let's check out ten broadcast network shows that are in danger of heading for cancellations in the near future, at least unless minor miracles occur. To start off, one of 2018's big revivals.
Murphy Brown - CBS
ABC and NBC won big with returns from Roseanne (which morphed into The Conners) and Will & Grace, respectively, so it was only natural for CBS to take a shot with Murphy Brown. The entire surviving cast returned, but during an era when politics already bogs down the real-world TV news cycle, talk shows, and the Internet, Murphy Brown was the outspoken liberal straw that broke the camel's key demographic ratings. The finale's Live + Same Day numbers were as low as they got during the season, with 5.2 million viewers and a 0.7 demo rating, which aren't so godawful, but weren't indicative of an uphill swing if Season 2 would happen.
The Fix - ABC
On paper, The Fix sounds like a broadcast network's dream: famed prosecutor Marcia Cross formulating a story whose hook sounds like the infamous O.J. Simpson case. In the show, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje plays a movie star who, years after being acquitted for murdering two people, is suspected of murdering a third, and Robin Tunney is the assistant D.A. who wants to stomp him. While the performances weren't necessarily viewers' biggest problem with the show, they haven't kept people from tuning out as the episodes have gone on. Its weekly viewers hover around 3 million, and while the DVR stats are helping, they can't help the latest episode's 0.5 rating.
A.P. Bio - NBC
For all of its arguable merits, A.P. Bio's biggest boast is that it's the first network series for star Glenn Howerton in the midst of his 13-year journey on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It also stars Patton Oswalt and features some of NBC's more bawdy comedy, but that hasn't quite been enough to keep audiences hooked. Despite getting off to a decent start in Season 1, A.P. Bio's sophomore stretch has seen the numbers dip, and the fact that it hasn't ever risen above a doomed 0.5 demo rating (with adults 18-49) is as much of a fate-sealer as any. That said, NBC does own the show, which could be its saving grace.
Happy Together - CBS
Happy Together marked Damon Wayans Jr.'s big network return after his on-again/off-again stints with New Girl, and Amber Stevens West's big return after the cancellations of The Carmichael Show and Ghosted. And for the most part, the show did okay during its 13-episode fall run, bringing in between 4-5 million an episode, with a demo rating that bounced from 0.7-0.9. However, CBS decided against giving Happy Together additional episodes through the midseason, which is almost always a bad sign, and the radio silence about its fate in the meantime supplies more pessimism. At least we got to see both generations of Damon Wayans in one episode.
REL - Fox
Comedian Lil Rel Howery made waves nationwide within the cast of Jordan Peele's Get Out, and he made the jump to sitcom lead for Fox's REL, which was co-created by the late comedian Kevin Barnett, who passed away in January 2019. REL didn't reinvent the wheel with its plot about a dude rebuilding his life after discovering his wife's affair, and both audiences and critics offered up tepid responses. Fox, which ordered the series as a way of boosting its multicamera content, chose not to give REL a back-nine order to take it into 2019, and it's likely the show's cancellation will be announced before too long.
Splitting Up Together - ABC
Few would have argued that giving Splitting Up Together a second season was a bad move for ABC, considering the Jenna Fisher and Oliver Hudson family comedy maintained its 1.0 demo rating throughout its initial eight-episode run. Perhaps March-May 2018 was just more magical, though, because Splitting Up Together's Season 2 numbers never even matched the lowest of the first season's stats. The long line of 0.6 demo ratings for its final eight episodes won't help its chances of reaching Season 3, especially since ABC doesn't have ownership stakes in the Warner Bros. Television series.
Proven Innocent - Fox
Depending on how hard you pay attention to Fox's advertising, there's a decent chance you might not have realized Proven Innocent exists, even though it co-stars TV legend Kelsey Grammer as a shady attorney. As led by Under the Dome vet Rachelle Lefevre, Proven Innocent is a legal procedural that centers on a firm that attempts to overturn wrongful convictions. The big blow to Proven Innocent's shot at lasting life was its Friday-night placement on Fox's schedule, where its viewership numbers (2.19 million average) and demo rating (0.4 average) have been proven mediocre. It probably doesn't help that critics and viewers have called the show out for its lackluster plots and writing.
Whiskey Cavalier - ABC
One of the most highly publicized midseason TV entries was ABC's Whiskey Cavalier, whose promotional campaign was kicked off by star Lauren Cohan's surprising (though not permanent) exit from The Walking Dead. With Scandal's Scott Foley as Cohan's flirt-baiting co-star, Whiskey Cavalier offers high-octane adventures across the globe that are peppered with smart dialogue and fun humor. But while audiences tuned in for those first episodes, the more recent episodes have seen a marked downward turn, leaving the show's fate already up in the air. What doesn't help is that It's one of the relatively few shows on ABC's schedule that the network doesn't own, and it's a pretty expensive affair.
I Feel Bad - NBC
Debuting as part of NBC's fall lineup, I Feel Bad entered the playing field with lots of negative reviews weighing it down, with critics somewhat praising the cast but panning the humor and writing. Sarayu Blue starred as Emet, a wife, mother and career woman who seemingly has it all, but still can't stop her perfectionist side from poking through. I Feel Bad's two-episode premiere lost roughly 1.8 million viewers from the first to the second installment, and the numbers only got worse from there. NBC stated the show would conclude back in December with a two-parter (that averaged 2.2 million viewers), and that a decision would come later, and one can only expect it'll be a feel-bad decision.
Fam - CBS
After ending her run on The Vampire Diaries as the unforgettable Elena, Nina Dobrev enjoyed but a single TV role on Comedy Central's Workaholics before landing the CBS sitcom Fam. Unfortunately, unless the numbers get better for Fam ahead of the season's end, it may not be around for Season 2. On another network, Fam would probably be applauded for its numbers, but they've mostly dipped since its premiere, though it has bounced around the 5- or 6-million mark for some weeks. The fact that its demo rating has dipped down to a 0.7 doesn't offer much positive vibes, even though Dobrev's performances certainly do.
While there are obviously no guarantees that the choices seen above will all face the chopping block in the next month or two, it would be wise for fans of these shows to at least prepare themselves for those kinds of outcomes. As well, there's no telling what other networks or streaming services might step in to be a savior for any of these potentially cancelled shows. Stranger things have happened.
Let us know below which show deserves to be saved the most.
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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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