With each year that passes, the strain to maintain consistent viewership gets more intense for broadcast TV and cable networks, and the growing number of streaming platforms certainly isn’t convincing audiences to stick around for primetime. As such, the middle of May remains one of television’s most hectic periods, as execs plan for ad upfronts by finalizing programming goals with widespread series orders (such as The CW order that mythos-building Supernatural prequel), season renewals (such as NBC’s big Law & Order franchise news), and doomsday cancellations. Which means tons of bubble series are left populating the chopping block, from established shows like Magnum P.I. to promising upstarts like Naomi.
With the dust still settling from what will likely be the busiest week of cancellations of the year (with most of them happening during a single afternoon), let’s take a look at all of the broadcast shows whose plugs were pulled ahead of the summer TV season.
Despite having a milestone-achieving SNL icon as its titular star, Kenan suffered a sizeable drop in viewership and demo ratings from Season 1 to Season 2, and among NBC’s various comedies, its only claim to fame was topping Grand Crew in total viewers. (And Grand Crew actually landed a renewal.) Perhaps it’s because the Kenan Thompson-starring comedy’s entire sophomore season was shoehorned into airing during the post-Christmas and pre-Olympics month of January. If nothing else, it hopefully means Thompson can get a little more rest and relaxation time in 2022.
4400 (The CW)
With its future still generally uncertain at this point, The CW is in a strange holding pattern, cutting back on tons of scripted originals (and downscaling the Arrowverse) while beefing up its acquired programming slate. Whatever the reasons may be, just about anything on the lower end of the ratings scale wasn't going to make it, and that includes the network's 4400 reboot, which only drew 732K viewers and a 0.1 demo rating on average, even with delayed viewing added in.
B Positive (CBS)
On the one hand, B Positive’s cancellation isn’t surprising at all, considering the CBS comedy retooled its core storyline and cast between the first and second seasons, which is never a completely positive sign of a given show’s quality. But on the other hand, the Thomas Middledith and Annaleigh Ashford series basically drew the same number of viewers with its second season (an average of 5.7 million), which is quite a bit more than most other newly canceled series, even though its core demo numbers did drop a little. Still, despite that, it was still on the lower end of the stats when compared to CBS’ other shows.
Naomi (The CW)
With comic book mastermind Brian Michael Bendis as the DC character’s co-creator, and the Emmy-winning Ava DuVernay as the TV adaptation’s co-creator, The CW’s superhero drama Naomi seemed destined for greatness, despite not falling into the Arrowverse’s trappings. And though its numbers drooped following some impressive stats as the season debuted, Naomi still ranked among the network’s Top 5 dramas. Maybe they should have connected this with Superman & Lois more directly.
Mr. Mayor (NBC)
It’s a good bet that any show starring Ted Danson deserves to be around for years on end, but Mr. Mayor is about as prominent an exception as can be. With its second season, Mr. Mayor drew an average of 2.4 million viewers (and a 0.4 demo rating), with zero episodes matching any of the first season’s stats. Considering its pre-cancellation episode earned series lows across both stats, perhaps its eventual fate wasn’t too surprising.
Magnum P.I. (CBS)
CBS brought the hammer down on Magnum P.I. after four seasons, despite the Hawaii-set drama bringing in an average of 7.4 million viewers on a weekly basis. (Though its 0.7 demo rating isn’t exactly the most enviable.) Those stats were all just shy of the Season 3 numbers that earned the Jay Hernandez-starring series a fourth season. However, when stacked up against the plethora of other current CBS dramas (14 all told), Magnum P.I. didn’t even crack the top half. It doesn’t seem as if this cancellation tied back to the reboot’s co-developer and former showrunner Peter M. Lenkov, who was fired in 2020 for workplace conduct.
Dynasty (The CW)
Though its Season 5 numbers essentially mirrored its Season 4 stats, The CW’s Dynasty didn’t exactly enjoy an advantage in that sense, as the modern-day reboot of the ‘80s classic ranked lower than every other CW drama this season in regards to total viewers. The fact that it only nets a 0.1 demo rating with audiences 18-49 certainly didn’t help, either.
The Endgame (NBC)
Another drama in this rundown whose season finale earned the lowest numbers of the season, The Endgame marked the latest TV effort for Firefly and Gotham vet Morena Baccarin. And while opinions about the heist drama were fairly positive overall, the viewers just weren’t showing up the way that NBC no doubt would have wanted. Overall, The Endgame ranked second to last in the key demo ratings among the 14 dramas aired by the network in the latest TV season, and only scored higher than the previously cancelled Ordinary Joe and the Canadian import Transplant in total averaged viewers. Unfortunately, this is one of the big cancellations of the season that concluded on a major cliffhanger, leaving fans without concrete answers about Elena’s daughter.
With a trio of popular TV vets at its center — Maggie Q, Eliza Coupe and Ginnifer Goodwin — Fox’s comedy Pivoting didn’t appear destined to rank as one of the network’s lowest-performing projects across the board, but the numbers pointing to its fourth-to-last status do not lie. With the majority of its ten episodes drawing fewer than two million viewers on average — its January 2022 premiere was a high mark, but not by a wide margin — Fox ultimately pulled the plug on Pivoting, though it did stay on the bubble for longer than one might have expected.
In The Dark (The CW)
In the Dark is something of an odd (wo)man out in regards to big 2022 cancellations, in that its end was revealed and confirmed before its final season even started up on The CW. As such, In the Dark fans do still have something to look forward to, with Perry Mattfeld’s Murphy Mason once again facing some extreme dangers in Season 4, which is set to debut on June 6, 2022. Here’s hoping everything is wrapped up neatly with a bow for the blind protagonist, since she won’t be back for more in 2023 and beyond.
Our Kind Of People (Fox)
Fox’s Our Kind of People teamed up Empire’s Lee Daniels (executive producer in this case) with stars Yaya DaCosta and Morris Chestnut, with both stars coming off of high-profile roles in other network series — DaCosta left Chicago Med for the Fox drama, while Chestnut stepped away from The Resident. Unfortunately for all involved, Our Kind of People almost immediately experienced ratings issues after its fall premiere, and brought in just over 2 million viewers on average across the season, with delayed stats included. And despite the January finale ending on a mystery shooter cliffhanger, Fox gave the soapy drama a last-minute axing ahead of the network upfronts.
Good Sam (CBS)
Despite boasting a pair of popular TV veterans in Sophia Bush and Jason Isaacs (not to mention the rest of the talented cast), the CBS medical drama Good Sam did not enjoy the kind of viewership boosts one might have expected. To the contrary, Good Sam’s average totals (with Live + 7 Day DVR stats included) ranked dead last among the 14 dramas that CBS aired during the 2021-2022 TV season, both in total viewers and in the key 18-49 demographic ratings. The drama did give One Tree Hill fans something to celebrate, with Bush’s former co-stars and current podcast co-hosts Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz appearing as guest stars, but even that episode’s stats weren’t impressive in comparison to other episodes.
Roswell, New Mexico
The second of three TV series in this round-up that were executive produced by The Vampire Diaries creator Julie Plec, Roswell, New Mexico is officially coming to an end with its upcoming fourth season. A reboot of the 1999 drama, Roswell, New Mexico has earned praise for its diversity-driven storytelling, and earned its fourth season renewal way back in February 2021, before its third season had even premiered. Now, though, because of all the changes happening behind the scenes at The CW, the alien drama will need to wrap up all of its characters’ plots with the upcoming episodes, lest fans be left with only mysteries (as was the case with Plec’s The Endgame).
How We Roll (CBS)
CBS’ How We Roll gave comedian Pete Holmes a chance to lead his own network comedy, but things didn’t pin, er, pan out so well for the sitcom based on the life of pro bowler Tom Smallwood. Despite having an average weekly viewership (4.6 million) that probably would have kept it safe on a different network, that total and How We Roll’s key demo rating (0.4) rank last among the seven comedies that CBS aired this season. The sitcom’s finale, now confirmed to be its final episode ever, is still set to air on Thursday, May 19.
Charmed (The CW)
Just over 20 years after the original Charmed made its debut, The CW’s reboot first entered the coven, though it would only ultimately last for half of the first iteration’s eight-season run. Despite the chemistry of stars Melonie Diaz, Madeleine Mantock and Sarah Jeffrey, Charmed’s weekly averages rank on the low end of the ratings spectrum for the network. And so while still in the midst of its fourth season, Charmed’s fate was sealed by the network, and it was cancelled alongside various other dramas. The Season 4 (nd now series) finale is set to air on Friday, June 10.
United States of Al (CBS)
Yet another network series cancelled ahead of its current season’s finale, CBS’ United States of Al is now confirmed to be ending altogether with its Season 2 capper airing on Thursday, May 19. While certainly no slouch in total viewers for a sitcom, with an average of 5.9 million with DVR stats thrown in, United States of Al isn’t as big a draw as other CBS stalwarts. The comedy’s initial criticisms for stereotype-based humor certainly didn’t help early on, and the show didn’t draw much of a buzz in any direction after that.
Legacies (The CW)
Marking the end of an era of blood-hungry heroines and other supernatural beasts, The CW officially called it quits on the Vampire Diaries-verse by cancelling the spinoff Legacies ahead of its fourth season finale. While it has put up solid demo numbers by CW drama standards, Legacies’ total audience hit new lows in Season 4, and with the network’s current in flux status, not even the drama’s solid 100%+ DVR upticks could save it from cancellation. Franchise creator Julie Plec promised a suitable and surprising conclusion when the show ends for good on June 16, but fans will no doubt be the louder voice regarding that distinction.
While not part of the network bloodbath that went down, Hulu has also cut ties with two of its original series. The Patton Oswalt-starring animated series M.O.D.O.K., which gave Marvel fans one season of bawdy and bizarro non-MCU humor, was cancelled amidst the slew of other series oustings. That news came three days after Kat Dennings' comedy Dollface was revealed to be ending after its second season, which debuted in February.
On the flip side of the cancellation coin, check out what new and returning shows are yet to debut this year with our 2022 TV premiere schedule, and place your bets on which shows will still be around and which will already be goners when 2023 arrives.
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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.