Last night I rifled off a story to my editor about up-fronts and taking wild guesses about how NBC was going to handle its’ once vaunted comedy lineup with intentions of posting it today. Between then and now, NBC took a lot of the mystery out by renewing Parks and Recreation for a sixth season and canning Guys with Kids, 1600 Penn, Whitney, and Up All Night.
Needless to say, I wasn’t shocked with any of these decisions. Parks and Rec is the closest thing NBC has to veteran hit right now, going into its’ sixth season and drawing a moderate viewership (Oh how the mighty have fallen). One could also see the network realizing how weak their slate was when they got a back nine tacked on their order this year (the season was originally supposed to be a 13 episode order like Community and 30 Rock).
Similarly, three of the four cancellations I had as inevitabilities.
1600 Penn had all the signs of a show that wasn’t going to outlive its’ first 13 episodes. It’s ratings consistently plummeted in it’s post-Office time slot, it came in at mid-season and had its’ season finale in March, it stuck out like a sore thumb in the same lineup as Community, Parks and Recreation and The Office, and last but not least it would be eventually bumped so that network favorite Go On could close out after The Office.
Up All Night, was not nearly as weak a show as 1600 Penn, but after much of the backstage turmoil you couldn’t help but think this show was going to get mercy-killed in May. Between the stars’ departures, the show runners’ departure, and an anticipated shift from single-camera to multi camera that got axed, it was tough to imagine Up All Night surviving to a third season.
Guys with Kids is the sort of show that most people were surprised made it out of its’ first six episodes, let alone a full season. It was one of those shows that existed as a way of NBC signaling its’ turn away from fairly intelligent comedy into the Lorre-esque dreck that pervades CBS.
Whitney, however, came as a little more of a surprise to me. While many people have reacted to most cancellations with a variation of “but they kept Whitney?” the impression I always got of the show was that it was the sort of show that the Peacock was never going to let die if only because it was a key part of network head Bob Greenblatt’s vision of a couple of years ago.
This leaves Go On (which I think will be renewed) and Community (which is a coin toss) as shows whose fates are to be determined, though it also signals that regardless of the situation that NBC needed to look in a new direction for its’ comedy lineup after a disastrous 2012-13 season.
UPDATE 4:20 PM: I was horribly wrong about Go On. The sitcom was just cancelled by NBC. This one surprises me a lot at it fits NBC’s strategy of bringing it’s “must-see TV” stars out of the mothballs and this series always seemed disproportionately adored by the network. I’m not sure whether this increases Community’s chances of survival (in a two similar shows one could survive sort of way) or is a potential foreboding doom (NBC manages to cancel just about anything with the intent of getting laughs from its’ schedule).
Next week is upfronts week: Keep posted to Manhattan Digest for more news and opinions!