Well, that didn’t take long. The fall TV season has claimed its first casualty. After just three episodes, NBC has pulled ‘The Playboy Club’ off the air. The 1960s-set drama will be replaced by repeats of ‘Prime Suspect’ for a few weeks, and then by a new newsmagazine show to be hosted by Brian Williams. Follow after the break for a look at which other new series are already in jeopardy of cancelation.
When NBC canned ‘The Playboy Club’ this week, the extremist nutjobs at the so-called Parents Television Council were quick to claim victory, as if they were somehow responsible for the show’s low ratings. Much more likely, viewers simply recognized the series as a low-rent ‘Mad Men’ knockoff, a shameless product placement opportunity for Hugh Hefner’s magazine empire, a starring vehicle for an actor (Eddie Cibrian) that no one likes anymore, and just generally an all-around terrible hour of television. Good riddance. It will not be missed.
According to the Cancel/Renew Index at TV by the Numbers, NBC is also very likely to pull the plug on Hank Azaria’s new sitcom ‘Free Agents’. Other big ratings losers include ‘Charlie’s Angels’ on ABC, and both ‘A Gifted Man’ and ‘How to Be a Gentleman’ on CBS.
Among the new shows believed to be “on the bubble” are ‘Prime Suspect’ (NBC), ‘Person of Interest’ (CBS), ‘Unforgettable’ (also CBS) and ‘Hart of Dixie’ (The CW).
Keep in mind that the performance of these shows is relative to each specific network and timeslot. For example, CBS considers ‘How to Be a Gentleman’ a failure despite ratings that would make it the #2 scripted series if it were on NBC. The ratings for NBC’s returning comedy ‘Community’ (now in its third season) would have led to immediate cancelation on any other network.
Some new shows have had better success. Fox’s ‘New Girl’ is an outright hit for the network. Although ‘Terra Nova’ hasn’t lived up to expectations, the first couple of episodes have done well enough that it will likely stick around for a while. NBC is pleased with ‘Up All Night’ and ‘Whitney’. ‘2 Broke Girls’ on CBS is inexplicably popular. On ABC, ‘Pan Am’, ‘Revenge’ and ‘Suburgatory’ all look pretty solid so far.
Of course, the whims of TV viewers (and TV executives) are notoriously fickle. I wouldn’t count on any series being safe until the network makes an official announcement as to its fate.