When Shows Meet the Axe

Some stars have all the luck. Take Damon Wayans, Jr.: He was poised an ready to star in a new pilot that actually got picked up, when–oh no!–the show he’s already starring in also got picked up. Or H. Jon Benjamin, whose lead voice work on not one but two animated shows will be continuing to echo through living rooms across America for yet another year.

And then we have those stars that just can’t catch a break. Stars like the adorable JoAnna Garcia-Swisher of Reba fame, whose criminally underappreciated show Privileged got canceled after only a year, but who quickly recovered with Better With You…only to see that get canceled after one season as well. Like Matthew Perry, who finally returned to TV with Mr. Sunshine three years after the one-season-surviving Studio 60, only to watch both his show and himself repeat unfortunate history. Hell, it’s tough out there for a TV star.

But it’s tough for an audience too. Is there anything as brutal (besides the obvious) as getting completely and totally sucked into a show and its characters only to find out that you were never going to find out what happened next, where they went, and how the drama of the last episode unfolded?

This year, the tough times fell on a wide variety of viewers from soap fans to sci-fi lovers, but no channel wielded the guillotine like ABC. Not only did the network cut popular long-running soaps All My Children and One Life to Live from its daytime schedule (although fans are trying their hardest to propagate rumors that both shows will be rescued by NBC) but they axed a whopping seven primetime shows, including Brothers & Sisters, Mr. Sunshine, Off the Map, Better With You, Detroit 1-8-7, V, and No Ordinary Family.

NBC made its fair share of cuts too, losing dramas Law & Order: LA, Chase, and The Event and comedies The Paul Reiser Show, Perfect Couples, and Outsourced. Fox was right behind with five cancellations, including dramas The Chicago Code, Lie to Me, and Human Target and comedies Breaking In and Traffic Light. (Although they’ve all but canceled that great American standby, America’s Most Wanted, shifting it from a weekly show to a quarterly special.) CBS was late to the schedule-decimation party, holding out until this past Sunday to cut S!@# My Dad Says, The Defenders, and Mad Love, and until today to cancel freshman spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.

The CW has yet to nix a single show this month (although Life Unexpected ended in January and Smallville‘s series finale aired this past Friday night), but only freshmen series Hellcats and Nikita and super-veteran One Tree Hill have yet to be renewed. (The latter is the safest bet of the three, but Sophia Bush has been adamant on her Twitter account that rumors of its renewal have been greatly exaggerated.) Update: According to the same Twitter account, One Tree Hill was just picked up for a 9th (and likely last) season of 13 episodes. Freshman series Nikita has also been renewed, but alas, Hellcats becomes the third show in this post that I watch to meet the axe.

To those who’ve lost some of their faves, you have my empathy; I’ll never forget the night I learned that Veronica Mars had proven to be a marshmallow for the last time. Just remember, in these situations, the best way to get over an old TV show is to get under a new one. But every now and again, sending a bag a of peanuts helps.

(Photo Source: Recentissuetoday.com; Info Source: TVLine.com)

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