While every other network is passively sitting back on its heels and waiting for the fall season to take shape, NBC has come out with an itchy trigger finger. The network made its fourth decision on a new series today, canceling the underperforming Free Agents, which starred Hank Azaria as a recently divorced ad man, after four episodes. The news was not unexpected.
Last night's episode drew 3.28 million viewers and snagged a 1.0 rating according to preliminary Nielsen numbers. Free Agents' lead-in, Up All Night, scored a 2.2 rating, and its lead-out, Harry's Law, was watched by 8.22 million viewers. Clearly, people were changing the channel when Free Agents came on.
The decision is hardly a surprise from a business standpoint, but where did the show go wrong? When compared to the rest of this season's painfully weak new comedies, it was far from the worst. Kathyrn Hahn was great, Natasha Leggero was a favorite-TV-character-in-the-making as dizzying receptionist Emma, and Anthony Head was a riot as oblivious boss Stephen. I guess a sitcom about two older people hookin' up just isn't what Americans want to see. Bring on the attractive, loudmouth ladies telling us why men are different from women in the dating scene!
There's no word yet regarding a replacement for Free Agents on the schedule, but I'm guessing it will be repeats of Whitney or some other garbage. [UPDATE] It's been confirmed that Whitney repeats will fill Free Agents' newly vacated time slot. Enjoy!
This is NBC's second cancellation of the season; The Playboy Club was axed earlier this week after three episodes. The network has also granted full-season orders to Up All Night and Whitney. Elsewhere, Fox has picked up New Girl and CBS has picked up 2 Broke Girls.
If you're participating in our fall Dead Pool, Free Agents is worth nine points (13 - 4 = 9). I've guessed both cancellations correctly so far, have you?
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom