For non-insiders of the television world, all the major networks are taking this week to show off their upcoming schedules to ad agencies, meaning execs have been manically cancelling and renewing shows left and right. Last week delivered a particularly brutal bloodbath for axed projects, and the days since haven't been much better for the shows that were left hanging by a thread.
Here, we've rounded up the remainder of all the big network cancellations that dropped in recent days. Fans have hardly had any time at all to mourn these shows, considering the networks have been releasing trailers for all of their new fall and midseason premieres. So let's take a look at all the other shows that disappointingly got cancelled during May sweeps.
Murphy Brown (CBS) - Cancelled After Season 1
One of the most high-profile TV revivals of the 2018-2019 season, Candice Bergen’s Murphy Brown immediately made it clear that it was embracing bipartisan politics in a different way from fellow revivals like Will & Grace and Roseanne (later The Conners). Murphy Brown did okay in the ratings upon debuting, but soon settled into its on-the-bubble rhythm, where it remained. Had critics been wholeheartedly behind it, CBS might have kept it going, but that wasn’t really the case.
Star (Fox) - Cancelled After Season 3
Perhaps the biggest surprise on this list is Lee Daniels’ Star, which lasted for a full three wild and tension-filled seasons on Fox, with Queen Latifah as one of its biggest hooks. Like Empire, Star focused on the darker side of reaching pop-star status in the music biz, and the drama pulled in some impressive numbers in its first two seasons. Unfortunately, the Disney/Fox deal changed a lot of things behind the scenes at Fox, and Star’s drooping demo rating in Season 3 likely sealed its fate.
Happy Together (CBS) - Cancelled After Season 1
Following ensemble-driven runs on Happy Endings and New Girl, Damon Wayans Jr. struck out for a smaller cast of characters in CBS’ Happy Together, which also starred Greek vet Amber Stevens West. Critics weren’t overly impressed with Happy Together, and while the show’s weekly audience was consistent – usually around 4.5 million viewers and a 0.8 demo rating – it wasn’t enough to convince CBS execs to keep it around for Season 2.
Whiskey Cavalier (ABC) - Cancelled After Season 1
A show that seemingly had all the right pieces, Whiskey Cavalier boasted Scandal’s Scott Foley, The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan, and a creative team of writers/producers from Scrubs, Don’t Trust the B, and Key & Peele, among other shows. Whiskey Cavalier started off on the right foot, ratings-wise, but its clever writing, flirtatious characters, and global setting found fewer fans checking in each week, with its most recent episodes bringing in under 3 million viewers. Not all hope is lost, as the producers are shopping it around to find a new home for Season 2.
Presumed Innocent (Fox) - Cancelled After Season 1
Fox didn’t put much of an advertising campaign behind the legal drama Proven Innocent, led by Under the Dome vet Rachelle Lefevre and co-starring TV legend Kelsey Grammer. Which is strange, considering it was a show about wrongful convictions, a concept that took the nation by storm when Serial and Making a Murderer were atop the pop culture zeitgeist. Not a lot of people tuned in during its single-season run, which wrapped up on May 10, and not even a decent DVR percentage numbers could save it from the axe.
Fam (CBS) - Cancelled After Season 1
After years of being fang-deep in vampire romance on The Vampire Diaries, Nina Dobrev purposefully went against type for CBS’s multi camera sitcom Fam, in which she and Tone Bell became the sorta-guardians of a 16-year-old high school dropout. But in a comedic format, of course. Fam took over Murphy Brown’s time slot when its first season concluded, but ended the season with a demographic lower than a 1.0, and fewer than 5 million viewers tuning in per episode. Not the kind of numbers expected of a CBS comedy meant to be renewed.
Life in Pieces (CBS) - Cancelled After Season 4
Life in Pieces offered viewers the unique experience of digging into four different capsulized stories following different members of the expansive Short family. Combined with a winning cast of actors that includes Colin Hanks and Betsy Brandt (not to mention Veep’s Dan Bakkedahl), Life in Pieces was a winner with CBS audiences. It just appears as if the audiences just weren’t big enough in the end, and the show was cancelled in the middle of its fourth season, with episodes still left to air.
Empire (Fox) - Ending After Season 6
Despite its highly lethal plotlines, Empire might have lasted another decade or so on Fox had it not been for the Jussie Smollett controversy at the beginning of the year. The star’s allegedly falsified attack took over news cycles for weeks during the show’s Season 5 hiatus, the narrative mostly eclipsed by real life. The creative team likely could have kept things going for however many more years, but Fox made the decision to bring Empire to a close after its upcoming sixth season. That’ll take Empire over 100 episodes, helping its syndication efforts, but who knows if the characters will live through it all?
Blindspot (NBC) - Ending After Season 5
After debuting as one of the most mystery-soaked dramas out there, and boasting a winning lead duo in Jaimie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton, Blindspot lost a lot of its momentum with audiences. Season 4’s Friday-night audience has been particularly low, rarely topping out above 3 million, and its recent 0.4 demo rating hasn’t helped. Considering the show has been on the bubble for a couple of seasons now, fans should count blessings that NBC decided to give Blindspot one more batch of episodes to close the story out properly.
It appears as the latest round of devastating cancellations is over for now, although no one should ever feel too safe. While waiting to see what ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox will be doing next, don't forget to take note of what their summer offerings will be this year, including the highly anticipated return of America's Got Talent.
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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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