Last week was busy with announcements from networks about what shows they would and wouldn’t be bringing back, along with some new pilots ordered for the fall. With only the fate of Hannibal, The Cleveland Show, and a few reality offerings, still up in the air, here are the most intriguing – and unfortunate – takeaways.

Most Lamentable Cancellations

Happy Endings

This decision is most disappointing since ABC is now getting into the habit of abandoning shows with devoted fan bases which then get picked up by cable networks. Cougar Town moved to TBS last year, and USA may save this comedy. It used to be that ABC was in the business of reviving shows other networks didn’t want, like Scrubs, and now it seems that the opposite is true.

Rules of Engagement

Unsuspecting viewers will be shocked to learn that this CBS comedy, which has been used to fill in holes in its lineup for the past seven years, aired a total of one hundred episodes. It’s almost as surprising that it was still on to begin with, but why CBS would pull the plug now after bringing it back year after year is beyond explanation.


FOX never gave this Kiefer Sutherland drama a fair shot, pushing back its season two premiere several months and then launching it on a Friday when it would never have had much of a chance to succeed. Last year, this one made the list of surprising renewals, and therefore its demise was sadly predictable. It’s more lamentable, however, because the network opted instead for the renewal at the bottom of this list…


This show wasn’t given a fair shake, banished to Fridays to make room for the just-as-dead Golden Boy and doomed to certain death. This so-so show’s demise signals that broadcast network television just isn’t capable of sustaining an expensive period drama, which doesn’t suggest a bright future for anything that isn’t on cable.

Most Surprising Renewals

The Carrie Diaries

The CW ended its long-running flagship series Gossip Girl and 90210 and cancelled its struggling shows Emily Owens, MD and Cult early into their runs. But this Sex and the City prequel wasn’t expected to survive, and its renewal suggests that the CW really does want to be hip and try to capture a vibe most didn’t think it could.


This show’s death was all but guaranteed, and not seeing it addressed anywhere on NBC’s upfront presentation doesn’t inspire confidence. Yet, against all odds, this fan favorite will be back for a thirteen-episode fifteenth season as one of NBC’s only returning comedies, to return at some unknown and hopefully not too distant date.

The Neighbors

ABC has found a successful formula for Wednesday night comedies with The Middle, Modern Family, and Suburgatory. Why this critically-reviled, truly awful mess is coming back – and heading to Friday nights to join Last Man Standing – is anyone’s guess when the network has much better laughs to offer.


This is the only show on this same list last year to return, with its fourth-season pickup even more mind-blogging than the third. Ratings for the show have not improved, but it seems that some love the story, and the show will be granted the opportunity to return for a shortened and final season of just six episodes to wrap up its spy web for good.


This show’s renewal is the most astonishing of all, considering it ended in 2010. After talks of a movie led to nothing, it was announced that Kiefer Sutherland’s current show is getting the boot and that he’ll be back for a limited series premiering sometime next May. Clearly nothing worthwhile has aired in the past three years, and FOX is returning to this proven and successful format.

By Abe Fried-Tanzer

24 Television Series

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