Say what you like about ABC as a network: When it reaches for the axe, it does so with pure and unquestionable killing intent. Over the years, we’ve gotten a sense for when the bloodlust is about to fall over the Disney-owned network—usually around the second week of May, when it gets ready to show off its new slate of shows to advertisers at its annual upfronts presentation, realizes there’s a bunch of dead weight still hanging out on its schedule, and, whoops, there goes the axe.
If Bloodbath Day 2021 really is upon us, though, it’s looking to be a fairly light one. Coming down immediately in the wake of it handing out four series orders to new shows (including the Don Cheadle-fronted Wonder Years reboot), ABC announced this afternoon that it’s killing off four of its existing programs, only one of which, somewhat surprisingly, was still in the infancy of its first season. This year’s doomed, per Variety: Mixed-ish, American Housewife, the legal drama For Life, and Katey Segal’s Rebel, the baby of the bunch.
American Housewife is the longest-tenured of the shows in question; the Katy Mixon sitcom has been on the air since back in 2016. Mixed-ish and For Life, meanwhile, were both in their sophomore seasons. The former starred Arica Himmel and Tracee Ellis Ross as Bow Johnson in her pre-Black-ish days, while the latter starred Nicholas Pinnock as a man serving life on drug trafficking charges, who decides to get his law degree and serve as a defense attorney from within prison. (Cool premise, dead show—although it’s reportedly being shopped around to other networks.) Finally, Rebel, based on the life of also-lawyer Erin Brokovich, was elevated mostly by Segal herself—but not enough to give it better-than-barely-middling reviews, or, as it turns out, a second season.
And now, of course, the sanguine waiting game begins in earnest. Are these all the shows ABC will rid itself of in the coming weeks? Or have we only experienced the first chapter in this grisly tale of terror? (That’s to say nothing of the other major networks, who probably have some wheat/chaff separation of their own to get done in the coming days.)