The ax continues to fall at NBC, which over the last several hours has severed ties with three of the four freshman comedies that were still in contention for a slot on the 2013-14 schedule.
While it came as little surprise that the Peacock cut loose the poorly received newbies Guys With Kids and 1600 Penn, the decision to cancel the Matthew Perry comedy Go On is somewhat curious.
Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Go On is NBC’s top-rated comedy, averaging 5.67 million viewers and a relatively hale and hearty 2.1 in the 18-49 demo. (By comparison, 1600 Penn scared up just 2.86 million viewers, and a 1.1 rating in the dollar demo, while the long-dead Animal Practice delivered 4.22 million viewers and a 1.2 rating in its Wednesday 8 p.m. time slot. Jimmy Fallon’s Guys With Kids averaged 3.89 million viewers and a 1.4 rating among the 18-49 set.)
Go On marks Perry’s third straight one-and-done outing. In 2011, he starred in ABC’s short-lived mid-season comedy Mr. Sunshine; that effort followed on the heels of Aaron Sorkin’s self-reflexive dramatic comedy mash-up, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. To date, Studio 60 remains the only Sorkin TV project to be canceled after a single season.
Go On started strong but faded down the stretch. After bowing Sept. 11 to 9.73 million viewers and a 3.4 in the demo, Go On would close out its 21-episode run in front of a third of its premiere audience, stringing together several 1.1-rated performances in March and April.
Fans of The New Normal may find solace in the elimination of Go On, as it remains the last new NBC comedy whose fate has yet to be determined. That said, the numbers don’t really add up. New Normal didn’t fare anywhere near as well as Go On’s lead-out, averaging 4.10 million viewers and a 1.6 rating.
UPDATE: R.I.P., The New Normal. NBC officially has killed off every one of its freshman comedy series.
Also in limbo are the recently minted thriller Hannibal, which is another likely candidate for dismissal. Through its first six episodes, Hannibal is averaging 3.32 million viewers and a 1.3 in the demo. Fourth-year comedy Community is also on the bubble, averaging a 1.2 rating, while Broadway baby Smash has no shot at a renewal. UPDATE: Community gets a 13-episode Season 5, Smash is kaput.
Shortly after Go On producers were told the show would not be coming back for a second season, NBCUniversal News Group chair Patricia Fili-Krushel announced that Rock Center with Brian Williams would broadcast its final show on June 21.
The weekly prime time newsmagazine debuted in 2011 on Monday nights, then proceeded to move deeper and deeper into the week, popping up on Wednesday nights, then Thursdays, then Fridays. In more instances than not, Rock Center failed to deliver so much as a 1.0 in the 18-49 demo.
“While we’re disappointed with the news, we are very proud of the hard work that the Rock Center team put into the program each week,” Fili-Krushel wrote in a memo to NBC News staffers.
Among the other series that were shut down by NBC over the course of the last 24 hours are Whitney and Up All Night.
At the same time NBC was clearing the decks, it added three new series to its list of previous pick-ups. Buddy comedy Undateable (Whitney’s Chris D’Elia) joins fellow newcomers About a Boy, Family Guide and Sean Saves the World, while the new drama slate (Believe, Crisis) has been augmented by the addition of Ironside (Blair Underwood) and Chicago Fire spinoff Chicago PD (Jon Seda).
NBC will present its entire 2013-14 prime-time schedule on May 13 at Radio City Music Hall.