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New Fall Shows Struggling


Victoria Zelvin

The major networks have been rather sluggish to cancel their underperforming shows this season. Whether the major networks have gotten more lenient or are playing the long game, the fact is that there have been very few outright cancelations on the primetime networks. Here are seven shows that are in danger of being canceled from the new fall lineup of the major networks.

*Note: the ratings and viewership numbers are collected by the Nielsen Company.

1. Made in Jersey (CBS) and Animal Practice (NBC)

Kicking us off are two shows that have already gotten the axe. Made in Jersey, CBS’s new drama centering around a Joisey-lawyer making waves with her unorthodox (and yet very stereotypical) behavior, was canceled after airing just two episodes. The critical response was lukewarm at best and though the numbers weren’t atrocious, CBS knows that it can do far better in that timeslot. Made in Jersey is slated to air some re-runs intermittently on Saturdays, but after that it will disappear. NBC’s veterinary comedy Animal Practice got six episodes before being canceled. The show struggled from its inception amid a poor critical reception and, despite the fair shake NBC gave it, Animal Practice could not be saved, not even by that monkey in a lab coat.

2. The Mob Doctor (FOX)

Critical response has been on average lukewarm at best, with the Linda Stasi New York Post review saying that FOX was “hoping they’d get The Sopranos meets Grey’s Anatomy while filling the hole House left in the schedule… they ended up with an animal made by committee.” Many other reviews speak in the same vein. However, audience turnout has been fairly nonexistent. Not helping matters was the contract FOX had to show the World Series, which booted the Mob Doctor out of its timeslot momentarily. The World Series earned the Mob Doctor a four-week reprieve and they are slated to return with a brand new episode. The Mob Doctor airs Mondays at 9pm EST.

3. Guys with Kids (NBC)

Another struggling comedy on NBC, Guys with Kids took a blow when their lead-in Animal Practice was canceled. Helmed by Jimmy Fallon, the critical reception nevertheless has been very poor. Matt Rouse of TV Guide wrote, “The seasons most depressingly generic and retro sitcom, so squishy and lacking in edge it might as well been written in nerf.” Guys with Kids is not currently expected to outlive its predecessor Animal Practice by very long. Guys with Kids currently airs Wednesdays at 8:30pm EST.

4. 666 Park Avenue (ABC)

The show averages about 5.5 million viewers, which is not spectacular. The generally modest numbers pale in comparison to ABC’s current supernatural powerhouse, Once Upon a Time. Despite the lead-in by popular ABC show Revenge, 666 Park Avenue has failed to soak up.

Currently, many projections have 666 Park Avenue in a ratings race for the bottom against fellow freshmen ABC drama Last Resort. As of right now, their fates are tied in fairly closely. 666 Park Avenue airs Sunday nights at 10pm EST.

5. Last Resort (ABC)

Despite a fairly warm critical reception, Last Resort is struggling with viewers. ABC has already ordered 13-episodes and has gone ahead and ordered a few more scripts, but according the Nielsen ratings, the submarine centered thriller is at the very bottom of their current ratings, surpassed only by 666 Park Avenue. ABC is expected to allow Last Resort to finish out its freshmen season, but that is dependent its continued performance and that of 666 Park Avenue. If 666 Park Avenue sees a ratings bump, it might be them that get the full season treatment. Last Resort airs Thursdays at 8pm EST.

6. Partners (CBS)

Developed by Will and Grace creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, Partners closely resembles a 1995 sitcom of the same name that aired on FOX. Mutchnick and Kohan have confessed to being fans of the earlier show, but the similarities have not endeared them any to critics. The critical reception has been mixed to profoundly negative, even though the numbers have not been atrocious. Still, most of this can be attributed to the widely popular How I Met Your Mother serving as the lead-in for Partners, giving Partners a boost through those bleed numbers. Still, CBS knows it can do better in that time-slot and may be seeking a different show to follow the HIMYM powerhouse. Partners airs Mondays at 8:30pm EST.

Other shows in danger include the creaky Dancing with the Stars (ABC) which has limped into its fifteenth season with an all-time low in young adult viewership and which debuted with numbers 30% lower than last season’s. Also on ABC, the veteran Private Practice has flailed in the Tuesday timeslot away from its parent Grey’s Anatomy and, with the announced leaving of star Kate Walsh, ABC has slashed the number of final episodes to finish the season as quickly as possible. Gossip Girl (CW) has felt little love in its sixth and final season, garnering a measly average of 780,000 viewers. Also on the CW, Emily Owens, M.D. is struggling under a lukewarm critical response and even fewer viewers than Gossip Girl.

While the numbers on the primetime networks have been generally low (or at least lower than expected) this season, some other networks have picked up the slack. The most popular show on-air right now with audiences under fifty is AMC’s gruesome Walking Dead. Returning for season three, Walking Dead draws an average of ten-million viewers a week, topping other huge hits like the Big Bang Theory, The Voice and other hits on the main networks. The Arrow, a superhero drama brought to you by the people who did Smallville, debuted to the best numbers the CW has seen in three years (about 4-million). The viewership of the fifth season of Sons of Anarchy (FX) has broken rating records and has easily surpassed network rivals like Vegas (NBC). With numbers like that, it is easy to speculate that the mainstream networks, who already lose primetime audiences to pay-to-watch networks like HBO and Showtime, have much more serious competition with their cable counterparts than they would perhaps like to admit.