Up until just recently, the TV cancellation gods had been fairly calm and unassuming so far in 2022. While there have been a couple of popular shows let go here and there, most have been from Netflix or outlets outside the broadcast TV scope, with CBS’ now-cancelled Bull being the biggest example on the major network front. That number has now tripled, however, with two more original scripted series getting the axe ahead of May’s mega-batch of season finales: Ordinary Joe and The Big Leap.
Let’s take a closer look at the two shows that were cancelled below, and what may have led to those unfortunate fates. (And then check out all the other big shows that were already set to end this year.)
The Big Leap (Fox)
Scandal vet Scott Foley, whose work in Scream 3 was revisited quite a bit alongside the latest franchise entry, seemed like he landed a potential hit with the dancing reality show dramedy The Big Leap, considering Fox’s success with thematically similar fare such as Glee and the soon-to-return So You Think You Can Dance. However, despite any critical acclaim that it earned along its eleven-episode first season, Deadline reported that Fox made the decision not to order up a second-season renewal for the freshman entry.
When The Big Leap ended its run back in December, Fox execs stated that a decision for the drama’s future would be made at some point in the spring. And now that we’re here, it appears clear that nothing went down behind the scenes that changed anyone’s minds, so unless some other network steps up to officially call for an encore season, it looks like this dance competition is over for good.
For all that critics were impressed by The Big Leap, though, homebound viewers didn’t appear to get the message. When its series premiere drew just 1.47 million live viewers back in September, it didn’t bode well, and the situation didn’t exactly get better during the remainder of the season, without any episodes bringing in a bigger nightly audience. To date, the dancing drama currently serves as Fox’s lowest-ranked programming of the 2021-2022 season, and its lackluster DVR numbers weren’t enough to save the day either.
Ordinary Joe (NBC)
NBC opted for something a bit quirkier than its usual drama fare with the James Wolk-starring Ordinary Joe. As created by former House writers/EPs Russel Friend and Garrett Lerner, Ordinary Joe centered on its titular character Joe Kimbreau across three different parallel timelines that each reflect a life-changing decision made following his college graduation. In one, he follows in his father's footsteps as a police officer; in another, he makes the effort to achieve his dreams as a rock star; and in the third, he becomes a nurse. Once Upon a Time vet Elizabeth Lail was also part of the fun as Joe's college sweetheart Jenny, who figured into each of the timelines in different ways.
Unfortunately, in none of those timelines was the show a hugely popular offering from NBC. When it premiered in September 2021, the first episode's 3.85 million-strong audience seemed mildly promising, but the numbers drooped from that point on, without any future episodes breaking the 3-million benchmark for live airings. In fact, the final four episodes of the 13-installment season all drew in fewer than 1.5 million viewers, with key demo ratings that dipped to 0.2 among audience members 18-49. It couldn’t quite compete with other shows in the same time slot such as The Good Doctor and NCIS: Hawai’i.
And so it wasn’t the most surprising thing to learn through Deadline that NBC made the decision to pull the plug and cancel Ordinary Joe instead of going ahead with a second season. Like The Big Leap, this drama was NBC’s lowest-rated drama of the current TV season, making it almost impossible to justify ordering more.
Beyond the aforementioned pair of new cancellations — as well as Bull, whose star Michael Weatherly chose to exit, sparking instant NCIS return hopes — there are two other network shows that already faced their own reckonings. NBC’s reality experiment Home Sweet Home was pulled from the schedule after just four episodes aired in the fall, with the remaining eps being shifted to streaming on Peacock. More recently, ABC pulled its low-rated drama Promised Land off its schedule in mid-February after five episodes were released, with the rest of the first season’s episodes streaming on Hulu.
While waiting to hear about the next round of cancellations, check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what shows aren’t in any kind of trouble just yet.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper. Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.