The two clearest signs that Fall is upon us occur when the leaves start to change, and NBC starts to cancel their new TV shows. Break out your sweaters because the axe has fallen on the remake of “Ironside” and the Thursday night comedy “Welcome to the Family”. Here is how EW.com described the decision to cancel the two shows.
Of these two changes, the big issue is Thursdays. The Wednesday 10 p.m. hole is one hour at the end of one night. NBC’s Thursday lineup is in such a crisis that even the guys at Chicago Fire wouldn’t know how to put it out. Last night’s three-hour block averaged only a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49, just barely edging out The CW overall. NBC’s two-hour once-signature comedy block has fallen 17 percent since last year, and 57 percent since 2009.
Dumping Welcome to the Family will certainly help. The sitcom about two families who come together because of their teenage kids’ unplanned pregnancy has averaged only 2.7 million viewers and a 1.0 rating. Yet the rest of the lineup isn’t doing much better: Parks and Recreation is averaging only a 1.6 so far, Sean Saves the World is at a 1.2 and The Michael J. Fox Show has a 2.3, a number inflated by its strong premiere week. The Michael J. Fox Show was also given a pre-pilot full-season commitment in order for the network to land the show.
That’s rough. NBC, the network of “The Cosby Show”, “Cheers”, and “Seinfeld” is turning their Thursday night comedy block into another Roanoke. Will the last person watching NBC on Thursday please turn off the lights when you are finished? The night has been in decline since Steve Carrell left “The Office”, and there seems to be no help in sight.
Losing “Ironside” shouldn’t surprise anyone. The pilot contained a “shoot the hostage” scene that made Keanu Reeves’ one in “Speed” look like Shakespeare. If NBC is dealing with a graveyard then why not try a serial show like “Lost” to shake things up. They can try to act like CBS and crank out procedurals (see “The Blacklist”), but NBC should reclaim their mantle as the home for comedy on TV. NBC hasn’t won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series since 2009 when “30 Rock” won.
Besides an aging “Voice” what is left on NBC? “The Blacklist” is a promising new show, but it feels like it might have a short shelf life. “Parks and Recreation” is there, yet a wasteland follows it on Thursday. All of this paves the way for “Community” to return in January, but until then NBC has to put on a brave face.