'Surviving Jack's Cancellation Proves Every Network But CBS Is Desperate for a Hit Comedy
It's upfronts season and if you don't know what that means, you should. Upfronts are when the networks present their fall schedules to advertisers, introducing new series and revealing which of their old shows will live to see another season. When it comes to comedies, especially those just finishing up their first seasons, this year's upfronts were pretty much a bloodbath. Every network except CBS cancelled most new comedies, including the few that had positive buzz and passionate fans.
The fates of a few series still hang in the balance, but there are already so many comedy cancellations that the networks should be worried. With so few comedies returning for second seasons, the major networks need some funny hits this fall, unless they want to be completely taken over by dramas. Again, except for CBS, who's confidence in Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory has apparently spilled over into its newer shows.
For everyone else, there are some promising comedy series in the works, but now the pressure is on to really fill up the schedule with new, successful comedies. Here's a look at each networks' cancelled series and the new shows they hope will replace them—maybe some will actually last for more than one season.
This is probably the network that will give you the most mixed feelings. The great, underrated Trophy Wife was cancelled when it definitely deserved another chance, but other no-so-great shows including Back in the Game and Mixology deservedly got the ax. The only freshman comedy ABC has renewed so far is The Goldbergs, while no decision has been made about Super Fun Night.
The network barely has any longer-running comedies returning either. The Middle was renewed for a sixth season and of course Modern Family as well, but The Neighbors has been cancelled after two seasons. Meanwhile, Suburgatory and Last Man Standing are all still at risk.
This fall, ABC plans to premiere a comedy called Selfie and even though it stars Doctor Who's Karen Gillian as a woman who's famous on Instagram looking for IRL friends, I wouldn't be too excited about it. After all, it's called Selfie, and about a woman who's famous on Instagram.
Then there's Manhattan Love Story, a romantic comedy lacking any big names that lets you hear the different thoughts of a couple that just started dating. Bored already? The most promising comedy seems to be Black-ish, which stars Anthony Anderson as suburban dad who wants to make sure his kids are connected to their black identity. Laurence Fishburne will also star in and produce the series, lending it some serious potential.
So far, of its freshman comedies, CBS has only cancelled We Are Men, renewing The Millers and Mom. However We Are Men could be joined by The Crazy Ones. No decision has been made yet but it's ratings don't inspire much hope. CBS also premiered a few comedies just a few weeks ago, such as Bad Teacher and Friends with Better Lives, so they still have some time to prove themselves before anything happens.
CBS is bringing back plenty of more established comedies. The Big Bang Theory was renewed for three more seasons, while 2 Broke Girls, Mike & Molly, and Two and a Half Men all received another season.
Unsurprisingly, CBS doesn't have many new comedies in the works. The only new show it's officially ordered so far is Battle Creek , a drama from Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan. However there's How I Met Your Dad, the How I Met Your Mother spinoff that will likely end up on the network, along with Matthew Perry's remake of The Odd Couple and hopefully, Jim Gaffigan's sitcom.
Things are really messy at Fox. Enlisted and Surviving Jack were both unfortunately cancelled, along with the more deserving Dads and Rake. In fact, the only freshman comedy to actually survive the upfronts was Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
The network doesn't have too many returning comedies to lean on either. It cancelled Raising Hope and gave renewals to The Mindy Project, New Girl, Family Guy, and Bob's Burgers. Glee will return, but for its final season.
Fox is putting a lot of stock into Mulaney, already giving the promising sitcom 16 episodes. It will also premiere Weird Loners, about four people scared of relationships who become friends, with a cast that includes HIMYM's Becki Newton and Happy Endings' Zachary Knighton. The only other comedy set to debut is Last Man On Earth, starring Saturday Night Live's Will Forte as the titular character, however it will not air until midseason, so probably early 2015.
But with so many cancellations, Fox might need a couple other new comedies. Apparently there are two it is still considering, Justin Long's Sober Companion and Cabot College, Tina Fey's comedy about a women's college that begins accepting men. Let's all keep our fingers crossed for Cabot College.
Most of NBC's new comedies were cancelled before the upfronts even started. Sean Saves the World, The Michael J. Fox Show, and Welcome to the Family have been gone for a while, and the comedies that replaced them haven't been on long enough to garner a decision. So About A Boy, Growing Up Fisher, and Undateable still have a chance.
NBC doesn't have many long-running comedies left to cancel. Parks and Rec was picked up for a seventh and probably final season and we're all still waiting to see if Community gets that sixth season it's always wanted.
With so few comedies returning, NBC has ordered a lot of new series. Most exciting are Marry Me, starring the equally hilarious Casey Wilson and Ken Marino as a newly engaged couple, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which follows The Office's Ellie Kemper as a woman who escaped a cult and is produced by Tina Fey.
NBC also picked up A to Z , featuring HIMYM's Cristin Milioti and Mad Men's Ben Feldman as a couple that the series will follow from their first meeting to their eventual breakup. Like most of the other networks, except for the inexplicably lucky CBS, NBC seems to be frantically searching for a comedy that's worth keeping for more than one season.