ABC, which waited until the last possible moment to pick up or cancel any of its series, has been announcing its pickups all afternoon long, in irritating, haphazard fashion, via Twitter. Most of the shows picked up have been certainties, with some mild surprises, but what you most care about is that ABC has canceled Happy Endings, its winning comedy about a group of wacky friends. Studio Sony Pictures Television plans to shop the show around to cable networks and streaming sites. If we were betting, we’d expect it to end up somewhere else, but at the very least, Damon Wayans, Jr., will have a guest spot on New Girl, which should be interesting. ABC bet that Happy Endings would have an audience, based on it performing better than any other show has after Modern Family (despite still losing a large chunk of that show’s audience), then moved it into a Tuesday slot where it would have to compete against two comedies with similar audiences. Predictably enough, it flopped. The network briefly tried it on Sundays and Fridays, and though its numbers stayed relatively stable once DVR viewership was added in, nobody cares about DVR viewership. So it’s gone. For now.
ABC also canceled How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life), Red Widow, Body Of Proof, and Malibu Country. The latter two were roughly coin flips, with Body Of Proof actually winning its Tuesday night timeslot some weeks, but not so substantially that it couldn’t be canceled. How To Live did quite well after Modern Family for a week or two, but it very quickly collapsed. Family Tools and Red Widow were goners from the word go.
But! ABC picked up a bunch of things, including the increasingly awesome political soap Scandal (for season three), the long-running Grey’s Anatomy (for season 10), the inevitable Modern Family (for season five), the quietly successful The Middle (for season five), the amazingly consistent (in ratings terms) Castle (for season six), the increasingly strange Last Man Standing (for season three), and Sunday night stalwarts Once Upon A Time and Revenge (both for their third seasons).
ABC also picked up two of its bubble shows. Suburgatory got the benefit of the network’s best timeslot for most of the year, airing after Modern Family, but that, surprisingly, resulted in the show’s ratings actually sinking, though they bounced back slightly once the series moved back between The Middle and Modern Family. Still, it will be back for a third season. Nashville has also struggled Wednesdays at 10, but the country music soap (for lack of a better genre to slot the show into) provided the network with lots of iTunes revenue and will be back for a second season, so far the only of ABC’s new shows from this season to find renewal.
Finally, we come to the curious case of The Neighbors, the “aliens in suburbia” comedy that attracted scathing initial reviews, followed by a gradual reappraisal of its merits. ABC’s publicity feed tweeted that it had been renewed—which would make sense, since most insiders thought it would be either Neighbors or How To Live—but then ABC put out the word to various reporters to walk that report back. So, basically, ABC’s own Twitter feeds are trolling ABC about The Neighbors. Honestly, we’re sure there’s just some minor part being worked out in a deal, and the show will be officially renewed later tonight, but this is still amusing enough to report on. For more on all of this, go to Hollywood Reporter writer Lesley Goldberg's Twitter feed, because Jesus Christ, ABC.
We’ll have more news on ABC’s new shows, CBS’ cancellations, and Univision remaking Breaking Bad coming in just a few.
UPDATE: Vulture's Joe Adalian tweets that ABC won't make up its mind on The Neighbors or Family Tools until tomorrow. Most outlets have the latter canceled, but apparently that's unofficial just yet (though with its ratings...).
UPDATE 2: As per Deadline, ABC has now officially renewed The Neighbors. Family Tools has also been officially canceled. (It was briefly rumored to be canceled yesterday but was not officially until today.) Of major network shows, this leaves only NBC's Hannibal twisting in the breeze.