Broadcast's May upfronts are a bit like spring training for baseball: the upcoming TV season is full of possibilities, and every new show trotted out for the fall is a potential hit. But as the new season begins in September, reality harshly sets in, as at least one new show provides so radioactive to audiences and advertisers that it must be excised after as little as two or three episodes on the air. It took several weeks longer than usual, but this year’s first canceled series was finally determined tonight: ABC’s Wicked City is no more, lasting just three weeks in its 10 p.m. Tuesday time slot.
While less than half of all broadcast freshman shows make it to a second season (of the 11 new shows NBC debuted in 2014-15, only one—The Mysteries of Laura—was renewed), it takes a certain level of ineptitude to become the season’s first casualty. That was especially the case this season, as cancellation became such a dirty word that networks were content to keep airing shows that averaged as little as a 0.6 rating in adults 18-49. Four shows that normally would have been canceled by now—Fox’s Minority Report, ABC’s Blood and Oil and NBC’s The Player and Truth Be Told—were instead allowed to remain on the air, while their episode orders were reduced from 13 to 10 (9 for The Player).
But while networks and advertisers agreed that low-rated original shows were preferable to airing repeats, when Wicked City tumbled to an abysmal 0.4 rating in its third episode this week, ABC could no longer justify keeping it on the air. The network will air Shark Tank repeats in its place instead.
As Wicked City is added to TV's most infamous club, here’s a look back at the first prime-time shows to be canceled each fall since 2000. How many do you remember, and how many have you tried to forget?