Which Shows Are About to Get the Axe?

By Tim Surette

Nov 18, 2009

It's fingernail-biting time for television producers all over, as November often brings doom for many shows. Last week, three programs—Hank, Eastwick, and Dollhouse—got the axe, and others will likely follow before the month is through.

So what shows are in trouble? And what are their chances of survival? Let's take a look at one intriguing cancellation candidate from each major network.


Mondays on NBC
People have been saying that Heroes is on its last legs ever since Season Two, but it keeps trudging on, thanks to a crazy fan base and international popularity. The current season's biggest supervillain comes in the form of horrible ratings, and Monday's episode plunged to its series low: a 2.2 rating/6 share in the 18-49 year-old demographic. Despite what your friend who wears a "Peter is my Hero" shirt says, the quality of the show hasn't exactly gone up. If it weren't for good DVD sales, a solid Web presence, and the not-so-distant possibility of syndication (Heroes is on episode 68, with 100 being the magic number for viable syndication), I'd say this show is a goner. If Heroes were a Fox or CBS venture, it would be long gone. But as it is, Heroes may still have some life.
Verdict: On the Bubble. Somehow I think this show will inexplicably last one more season.

Melrose Place

Tuesdays on CW
Amanda's back, but who really gives a rat's ass? This remake has had problems from the beginning, and things have only gotten worse. The CW jumped the gun, thinking that all people wanted was to watch new versions of old shows, but the ratings indicate otherwise. Sure, everyone knows the new Melrose and its remade brethren are on TV, but only thanks to beefy marketing campaigns, which is how the CW does things. Look at Gossip Girl, for example: One of the media's favorite darlings isn't even the biggest show in the CW's Monday-night lineup—One Tree Hill consistently beats it. Oops, did I veer off topic about whether or not Melrose Place will be canceled? Sorry. Melrose Place will be canceled.
Verdict: In Trouble. May run out the season, but won't be back next year.


Thursdays on ABC
FlashForward was an incredibly promising series... until it started. After premiering with great numbers, the show has steadily lost huge chunks of its audience. As TVByTheNumbers points out, the recent episodes of FF have averaged only a 2.6 ratings among adults, and ABC's average hovers around 3.1. Do the math; it's easy to see that sucks. I get the feeling that viewers are hanging on by a thread, and from comments I read across the internet, people just don't care anymore about whether the FlashForwards come true or not. Whether it will finish out the season will depend on the cost of producing the show—which is probably too high for penny-pinching execs. Oh, and if V continues on its current trajectory, it could be in trouble too.
Verdict: In Trouble. Might finish out the season, but things aren't looking good for Season Two.


Thursdays on Fox
I don't think there is a show this season that has gotten the shaft more than Fringe. Moved to a competitive Thursday-night time slot and preempted by baseball, Fringe has recently hit series lows in the ratings, which prompted fans to fear for its life. But fear not, Fringe folk, Fox likes the show—and it's obvious. This Observer-week promo isn't happening because the net is bored, it's happening because Fox wants the show to survive. And it wants Fringe back for Season Three. And it will be back. And then we'll meet alternate universe Astrid who will be a major ass-kicker! (I hope)
Verdict: It will be back, and hopefully on another night.

Three Rivers

Sundays on CBS
Okay, I was wrong. I thought this show would be a hit for CBS back when it was announced about nine months ago. But it turns out that, without his fangs, Moonlight hunk Alex O'Loughlin just isn't the attraction I thought he would be. Approximately 8.77 million people tuned in last Sunday, but they were mostly grandmas and grandpas, as the audience yielded a measly 2.1 rating in the adult demo. By contrast, Family Guy had a half-million fewer viewers but a juicy 4.1 rating among adults (and sold tons of Axe Body Spray in the process). That's what keeps shows on the air. It's only a matter of time before Three Rivers dries up.
Verdict: In Trouble. Might run out its 13-episode order... if it's lucky.

What other shows do you think are in danger of getting the axe?

  • Comments (175)
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  • KurtessBookah Jun 21, 2010

    Your So F**ckin Stupid why do they allways axe the films i love,, FLASHFORWARD IS THE F**CKING BEST !!!!

  • NJ_2010_ Jun 19, 2010

    Im from Ireland!! I watched Flash Forward!! Its my faveourite show... and now they have axed it!! I saw the last ever episode last night on RTE 2 (irish channell) and now its over.... it was class tho... they left it on a cliff hanger!!! :D

  • MichaelWhawel May 18, 2010

    If they want the ratings to be good, stop showing it at 11:30pm!!!!!! I absolutely love Flash Forward, it's a fantastic concept and a show which has moved well. I love it, i'm gutted it's getting cut. Typical spastic exec's looking at numbers rather than the reasons why......

  • vskiver Jan 07, 2010

    I am so up set that you took Eastwick off!!!Even my husband enjoyed watching it.

  • natatat Dec 08, 2009

    Thanks for the encouraging words about Fringe.....I keep hearing how its going to be axed, and its nice to hear that it most likely will not. Its such a great show, great actors!

  • PrettyInPink87 Dec 07, 2009

    save flash forward and three rivers! both great shows that are just in a rut give them a chance to revamp things and see what happens networks cancel shows way to soon!

  • GeigerdolylWodd Dec 06, 2009

    Despite what your friend who wears a "Peter is my Hero" shirt says, the quality of the show hasn't exactly gone up. If it weren't for good DVD sales, a solid Web presence, and the not-so-distant possibility of syndication (Heroes is on episode 68, with 100 being the magic number for viable syndication)

    Also correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the original Star Trek tv series manage to hit syndication before reaching its 100th episode. According to imdb there were only 80 episodes. Yet somehow it was syndicated right?

  • GeigerdolylWodd Dec 06, 2009

    I read the hyperlink to this? and it made me wonder if the shows were going to get AXE deodorant because of axe being typed in all caps or if they were going to be canceled. I suppose they could still work AXE in there somehow as product placement, I mean if it can work for Attack of the Killer Tomatoes then why not?

  • lloyd1018 Dec 01, 2009

    Flash Forward deserves to die as does Stargate Universe. Both began as promising shows but ran out of steam very quickly. Neither has any where near appealing enough characters. And the plotlines are far too thin to hold my interest. It was a surprise to hear about Dollhouse getting the flick. I'm glad Fox is supportive of Fringe. There's a program with meaty characters and thought provoking plots. Hope it gains greater audience numvbers.

  • EvanitaMontalvo Dec 01, 2009

    I love the Flashforward series... unfortunate due to the cost of Cable I don't have the ability to watch it on tv.. but I watch it every week on Hulu

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