Is 'Red Band Society' Cancelled? The Confusing Ways Networks Kind-of-Cancel Shows

FOX has ceased production on freshman dramedy Red Band Society (which, if you never watched — which is very likely since its ratings were terrible — is basically Glee set in a hospital) and pulled it from the fall schedule. To repeat, FOX will no longer be airing Red Band Society , nor is it producing more episodes beyond the initial 13-episode order.

But it's not canceled. I know that it sounds like it's canceled, but it's not. Technically. Technically, Red Band Society isn't canceled.

It's not even clear what will happen with the last three episodes of Red Band Society's first season (there are plans to air the first ten but those final three are being shelved for a later date, or possibly the DVD), but FOX hasn't completely given up on the series, which The Hollywood Reporter reports the network wanted more episodes of, but couldn't justify ordering when ABC Studios, which produces the show, refused to lower its licensing fee.

Basically, FOX has given itself a perfect out. It didn't officially, 100 percent pull the plug on the show, but Red Band probably won't be coming back, either. Red Band Society is now, like its narrator, in a kind of comatose limbo state. Not quite dead yet, but definitely not living by most people's definition.

This has been a common tactic among networks in recent years, but especially, it seems, this year. Sometimes, it difficult to know just how popular a show really is based on its initial ratings. There are so many factors to consider, like DVR numbers, fans who pick up on series late via streaming services like Hulu, iTunes and Amazon and just plain old crazy cult fan dedication. We've all heard the stories of fans flooding network offices with tokens of their great desire to see a show return, from Veronica Mars fans mailing Mars Bars to The CW to Arrested Development fans sending FOX crates of bananas to Chuck fans flooding Subway stores in search of sponsorship for the show (yes, we who love television also love food).

That's why it's more common to get a kind of cancellation than an outright statement from a network decrying that a show is officially donezo. What do I mean by "kind of cancellation"? I mean notices that explain that a show is being pulled from the schedule or that production has halted or that there simply won't be an order past the initial six or 13 episodes. And this season, with a reportedly dismal bench of replacement shows waiting in the wings, networks have been more reluctant than usual to just pull a show that already has episodes in the can. Seriously, guys, it's looking bad for the midseason replacements. You know confidence in in the midseason options is low when Bad Judge doesn't just get yanked outright.

Take NBC's struggling RomCom A to Z , which has been, for all intents and purposes, canceled. NBC announced that they would not order any more episodes beyond the initial 13 and, since the premise of A to Z involved watching a relationship evolve and end by the close of season 1, this certainly feels like cancellation. Unless the A to Z team regroups and rewrites their remaining episodes, fans will be left with no closure and the promise of the pilot won't be fulfilled.

And it doesn't seem like A to Z will adjust. Why? Because it technically isn't canceled. Executive producer (and Parks and Recreation alum) Rashida Jones took to Twitter to rally fans to save the show, proclaiming that it wasn't canceled after all (technically, she was't lying).

So where does that leave us, the fans of these doomed and gone-too-soon gems? It leaves us pretty much where we've always been: Congregating on the Internet to mourn and then, via the wonders of mob mentality, sending boxes of food that some poor assistant will have to sort through in a desperate plea for attention. Sure, it's possible to save a favorite show, but take this polite cancellations that dodge the questions seriously, and be prepared for Red Band Society to flatline. If you do love Red Band Society, I recommend sending FOX jello, because it's classic hospital food.