Word comes today that NBC has canceled its first-year veterinary sitcom
Monkey Hospital Ape ER Dr. Doolittle's Wonderful, Blunderful ICU Animal Practice after weeks of poor ratings. This was the show, may we remind you, that got a huge preview push right after the Olympic closing ceremonies. (Remember the Olympics? Sigh.) So this is a somewhat high-profile failure, even though the show's biggest star was Weeds alum Justin Kirk. To add insult to injury, the show will be replaced by Whitney — Monkey Memorial's loss is Whitney Cummings' gain; now she won't be banished to Friday nights when her show returns November 14th. (Howler Hospital will continue to air until then.) So, if you're keep score at home, that's two new shows — Simian Sinai and CBS' Made in Jersey — that have gone to the Not-So-Brilliant But Canceled bin in the sky. What other shows are in danger? Let's take a look.
Up All Night — Earning dismal ratings (it hovers around a 1.0 in the Nielsens and last week clocked in at under 3 million viewers), this once-promising, now faltering show will probably not last the season. And maybe won't even last until Christmas. It doesn't help that a weird second-season creative retooling — involving an unexplained new brother character and the cancellation of Ava's talk show — has been met with plenty of criticism. I don't think many people dislike Maya Rudolph, Will Arnett, and Christina Applegate, but the show is a bit too soft to compete with the rest of NBC's mostly sharp Thursday night lineup. We'd like to see pretty much everyone in the cast employed somewhere, this just wasn't the show.
Guys With Kids — This lame, dated-seeming sitcom is performing slightly better than Up All Night, but it has nothing else behind it. Unndiscussed and ignored, it seems like dead weight for a network that can't really afford any dead weight.
Chicago Fire — The big fancy fireman show, about an army of hunks fightin' blazes in Milwaukee, I mean Chicago, had a decent start last week, but Wednesday night's broadcast was down 20% from its premiere, which might not bode well for its future chances. This show also suffers from a lack of buzz, though its hunk quotient may keep it solvent enough in the 18-49 demographic to keep it keepin' on for a little while. Still, we don't see it having enough strength to earn another season by spring renewal time.
666 Park Avenue — Somewhat surprisingly, this much-hyped Sunday night supernatural soap has been a complete disappointment for ABC, which has been trying to rebuild its once-biggest night after the loss of the dearly departed Desperate Housewives/Grey's Anatomy bloc. It made sense to match the silliness of Once Upon a Time's magic and Revenge's wickedness up with 666's odd combo of those two qualities, but for whatever reason, maybe it was all too silly, it just didn't work. 666 Park Ave loses about half of its already slightly dwindling Revenge lead-in and hasn't shown any signs of picking up. The Drake ought to be closed for good by midseason.
Last Resort — Another high-profile failure for the Alphabet. This Andre Braugher/Scott Speedman (poor Ben...) action drama had high hopes behind it, but was something of a dud right out of the gate. Itt was too high-concept, or lacked star-power, or its quadrants were all messed up, or who knows. The point is, it's super expensive and super unpopular (though it does better in DVR and On Demand) and probably will whimper and die somewhere around midseason, just like 666. Bad, bold-lettered letdowns for ABC.
Also, sitcoms Suburgatory and The Neighbors are sort of unknown quantities at this point. The weirdo alien comedy The Neighbors does surprisingly OK but might be bumped to make room for something bigger by the time the next upfronts roll around, and Suburgatory opened its second season on a soft note last night. If ABC has bigger plans in the works, it too might suffer.
Vegas — On its own, Dennis Quaid's high-profile turd (excuse us, but it is really, really bad) isn't doing terribly in the ratings. But factor in its plum post-NCIS/NCIS: LA time slot, and it's doing real bad. And it's no surprise: the show is a bizarre mash-up of CBS' typical corny, rah-rah procedural and a period gangster tale. They do not synthesize well and the whole thing ends up sounding and looking cheesier'n a Dutchman's pantry. Quaid, Chiklis, and Carrie-Anne Moss can't be cheap, either. As the network probably doesn't want to publicly shame Quaid too loudly, this thing has quiet cancellation at the end of the season written all over it.
Partners — An equally terrible show, for vastly different reasons, this sitcom from the creators of Will & Grace is performing fairly poorly in the ratings (by CBS sitcom standards, anyway) and has the added un-benefit of being abjectly awful. It was a semi-noble, GLAAD-appeasing effort on CBS' part to add some gays to their roster, but this wasn't the right show to use as diversification tool. Though Partners has significantly higher numbers than, say, most comedies on NBC, we're talking the Eye here, the big leagues. Just-OK doesn't cut it there.
Some professional prognosticators believe that The Good Wife could be on the bubble, which is a terrible thought. But the truth is the show has been floundering in the ratings, especially in 18-49ers, and potentially could be in serious danger by season's end. Say it ain't so, Kalinda!
The Mob Doctor — Though we keep pleading with you guys, you are just not watching this actually kinda entertaining medical/mob mashup. It's been a loser all season, so much so that it's surprising it hasn't already been axed. There's probably nothing that can be done to save the show at this point, not even adding a monkey. We all know how that flies these days. It's a shame, really. Hopefully this strong cast will find gainful employment elsewhere. Oh and, Zach Gillford (who's looking at his second failed show in as many years), if you need a place to crash, you know where we are.
Ben & Kate — This show isn't in near as much danger as most of the other series on this list, but it's the weakest and least-hyped of Fox's suddenly strong comedy lineup, so could lose a spot on next year's roster in favor of something a bit more promising.
Remarkably, everything else on Fox's slate is in pretty good shape for now. The Mindy Project needs to hold on pretty tight to its numbers to earn another full season, but it seems like Fox likes the show, so we're sure the network will give it lots of help to ensure its survival. Oh, and The X-Factor isn't doing great, but it's reality, so operates differently.
Hart of Dixie — Since The CW's ratings standards are so different than other networks, it's hard to tell with any certainty what's going happen with any given show, but seeing as this show's second season renewal was something of a miracle, and that it hasn't improved much since its fall premiere, we don't see this thing limping along much longer. It's too bad, it's one of the network's only shows about actual, honest-to-goodness adults.
Emily Owens, M.D. — This'd be another actual adults show on the network, and given its less than auspicious debut earlier this week, we'd say it's equally in trouble, if not more so. It's a charming little thing, but it doesn't have much energy behind it, and despite often low ratings, CW shows can live or die by their buzz. In a season of CW surprises — modern-gothic superhero/monster tales Arrow and Beauty and the Beast are remarkably faring decently — this quiet show's likely quiet demise is, sadly, not come as much of a shock.
Those are the shows that seem to be on the cancellation radar right now. For the really fervent ratings followers among you, TV By the Numbers has a handy cancellation index thingie that they update each week. The rest of us will have to watch from a distance, looking in dismay (or joy, in some cases) as our DVRs tells us there are no new episodes of that show scheduled to record.