The United States television industry is in the middle of what is known as ‘upfronts’ season – a brutal time where shows’ futures are forged and broken – and this year has been a veritable bloodbath.
While the major networks are busy throwing expensive parties to wheel out their fresh new ideas, a number of beloved shows have been quietly axed, leaving masses of fans in mourning.
For one show the grieving period was brief – cult police comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine was axed by Fox, only to find a new home on NBC hours later after angry viewers begged for its survival.
But for others, their hours are numbered – unless a network white knight can save the day.
In one stroke of good news, amid all the cancellations, Australian dramedy Mr Inbetween was picked up by US channel FX.
Created by and starring Australian Scott Ryan, Mr Inbetween is a six-part series based on Ryan’s 2017 indie film of the same name, about a hitman struggling to juggle his career with his home life.
It will star several Australians, including Brooke Satchwell, and will be produced by Nash Edgerton, brother of Aussie export Joel. It will air on Foxtel in Australia in the second half of the year.
In the meantime, here are the shows that bit the dust – temporarily or otherwise.
The Last Man on Earth
Where: FOX in the US, ONE in Australia.
Why: The doomsday sitcom starring Will Forte, Kristen Schaal and January Jones was cancelled after four seasons due to dwindling ratings. That means its recent season-four finale – which left viewers dangling on a cliffhanger – will actually be last episode ever.
Will it be rescued? Unlikely. Forte, who created and starred in the show, seemed resigned to its fate, tweeting that it was “an experience I’ll cherish forever”.
Where: FOX in the US, SBS Viceland or SBS on Demand in Australia.
Why: The show was cancelled to free up funding for Last Man Standing, a family sit-com starring Tim Allen that previously aired on ABC but was picked up by FOX after a prolonged effort by fans to have it renewed.
Will it be rescued? Yes! NBC saved the day after fans took to social media to air their grievances en masse, with NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt admitting: “Ever since we sold this show to Fox I’ve regretted letting it get away, and it’s high time it came back to its rightful home.”
Where: ABC in the US, Netflix in Australia.
Why: Despite finding success in international markets, Variety reported the political drama may have become too expensive to produce after star Kiefer Sutherland’s season-three contract stipulated production move to Los Angeles from Toronto.
Will it be rescued? Unlikely. The show experienced a plunge in ratings in its second and most recent season and hasn’t been around enough to earn a loyal fanbase.
Where: ABC in the US, Seven in Australia.
Why: The political drama starring Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra was axed after three seasons, having recently replaced its showrunner for season three. While ratings were certainly down on the first two seasons, the show’s cancellation may have something to do with Chopra’s desire to return to Bollywood. Chopra has kept quiet on the show’s cancellation, further fuelling that rumour.
Will it be rescued? Highly unlikely, especially if its star is on her way out the door.
Where: FOX in the US, FX on Foxtel in Australia.
Why: The supernatural series about the devil – who was more ‘devishly handsome’ than fire and brimstone – leaving the underworld to fight crime was seriously suffering in ratings after three seasons and even its creators were feeling nervous
“We created a season finale with a huge cliffhanger so that there was no way Fox could cancel us,” showrunner Joe Henderson tweeted. “Instead, we’re going to frustrate the hell out of you fans. I’m so sorry for that.”
Will it be rescued? There’s a groundswell of support for the show to find a new home, with fans rallying for the show under the hashtag #SaveLucifer. Two likely options are Hulu, which owns the streaming rights to the show, or the CW, which is the sister network to Warner Bros TV, the studio that produces Lucifer.