Upfronts update: CBS cancels four, Univision wants to remake Breaking Bad, and NBC smashes Smash

Upfronts update: CBS cancels four, Univision wants to remake Breaking Bad, and NBC smashes Smash

It’s been a full day of fall TV news, and a bunch of stuff falls through the cracks. Here’s a quick update on some of the news items we couldn’t get to earlier.

• CBS has canceled four of its series, just further confirming that if you can get on the air at CBS, you very well might run for 500 years. Two of the series canceled were new ones—the somewhat serialized police drama Golden Boy and the ‘60s period piece police drama Vegas—while the other two were longtime stalwarts of the network. CSI: NY completed its ninth season in February and went so far as to air a largely dialogue-free episode scored entirely to Green Day this fall in an attempt to attract the young’uns, but it passes from the Earth today, the Friday night timeslot having finally done it in. That leaves only original recipe C.S.I., soon to enter its 14th season, as the last man standing from that franchise. The other show canceled is Rules Of Engagement, just another Sony Pictures Television series that lasted well past its initial lifespan, possibly because the head of the studio has incriminating photos of all the network heads, possibly just because it was cheap to produce and a somewhat reliable performer. Its cancellation means one can conclude either that CBS heads Les Moonves and Nina Tassler embarked upon a daring mission to infiltrate Sony HQ and destroy those photos, or simply that after making it to 100 episodes on the dot, it was decided to roll the dice on something new that might potentially replace one of CBS’ aging comedy hits, rather than keep propping up a modest performer. The latter is what actually happened; the former would make a kickass episode of Person Of Interest, don’t you think? Hitfix has more.

•To that one guy in comments on the Monday What’s On Tonight installments who really liked TNT’s medical drama Monday Mornings: Prepare to be sad. The network has canceled the show, which isn’t all that surprising, considering that its ratings were so low that the Sundance Channel was pointing and laughing. It is too bad that creator David E. Kelley turned out his most nuanced and subtle (please note that we mean “nuanced and subtle” for Kelley, which is like an airhorn blowing in your face for anyone else) work in years, only to have the audience summarily reject it. Oh well. Now he gets to make a CBS sitcom with Robin Williams, which will surely be the TV equivalent of a Roberto Rossellini film. Deadline has more.

•NBC declined to save Smash, canceling it after its second season, a season that saw it end up on Saturdays yet still led to occasional rumors that it might be saved because… well, we were never really sure why. Robert Greenblatt had taken leave of his senses? The show was going to add a monkey to the cast? Debra Messing was going to turn it into a one-woman series in which she would perform all of the parts on a bare stage? Regardless, the show has been canceled. Also cut by NBC: The New Normal, meaning that NBC’s commitment to “broader” comedy has officially fizzled out, with all four of its new comedies from last fall earning cancellation and its Dane Cook vehicle getting canceled before it even aired. (Save Me, yet to air, was the last of the network’s new comedies and also the least audience-friendly, though it has its considerable charms. So… don’t expect that one to stick around.) The Hollywood Reporter has more on both cancellations.

•Joining Chuck Lorre and J.J. Abrams in the highly prestigious “I have four shows on television, so now I get to ride around with Chuck Lorre and J.J. Abrams in a limousine and throw money out of the open sunroof like crazy rich people” club is Bill Lawrence, who went from having one show he created on the air—TBS’ Cougar Town—to having four shows on the air. Fox picked up Surviving Jack Wednesday, while NBC picked up Undateable earlier today. Then TBS picked up Ground Floor, a “workplace comedy with a romantic twist,” according to Deadline. Both of the Lawrence series picked up today start an actress named Briga Heelan, which makes it not inconceivable that the producer could work out schedules such that she could be a regular in two TV series at the same time, which would be madness. No word on which episode of which show will feature Lawrence performing the "Money" song from Cabaret, though this should absolutely happen.

•As recently as a few days ago, it looked like a safe bet that CBS and ABC would pick up Beverly Hills Cop and Big Thunder, respectively. The former, boasting showrunner Shawn Ryan and the involvement of Eddie Murphy, seemed like a safe bet for CBS to extend its attempts to bring more lighthearted action adventure to its lineup, rather than overdosing on dour crime procedurals. The latter was based on a theme park ride, and if there’s one thing the Disney corporation still enjoys, it’s synergy. Instead, both saw a pass, with some suggestion that Beverly Hills Cop was felled by internal corporate politics between Paramount and CBS (or maybe it just sucked). There are no rumors of corporate politics felling the latter, so we’re guessing it was just as bad of an idea to turn a theme park ride into a TV show as we always assumed, because we love confirmation bias. Again, Deadline has more.

•Despite NBC picking it up to series, new comedy The Family Guide will have to look for a new female lead, as Parker Posey is exiting the series, where she played the mother of the lead and the wife of J.K. Simmons. (We’d go on a rant here about how terrified Hollywood seems of women over 60, but that will wait for later.) Anyway, Simmons technically isn’t attached to the series either, since he’s still on the abysmally rated Family Tools. That show is likely to be canceled—and it was briefly reported that it was—but maybe ABC will renew it just to dick around with NBC, which would be kind of hilarious, except not really. As always, Deadline has more.

•Finally, nobody ever writes about how Univision has become a huge ratings success this season, to the point where it’s sometimes the second biggest network in the 18-34-year-old demographic, but now the network is going to attempt to make you pay attention by greenlighting Spanish-language remakes of Breaking Bad and Gossip Girl. (The network also has made its own version of The Voice with kids. It’s nothing if not good at picking up formats that have worked elsewhere.) The only problem with this? As Deadline reports, Sony, the studio that controls the rights to Breaking Bad has yet to commit to a Spanish-language partner for a remake. Univision may have jumped the gun, but we’ll remain hopeful enough to imagine the Spanish-language Mad Men of our dreams.

That’s all for now. Nothing else should break. Nothing else better break, because fuck you, we’re going to dinner.