2010: TV’s New Obscurities

I’ve compiled the following list of “new” obscurities, television programs that were broadcast during 2010 for 13 episodes or less. Some have episodes left unaired that may eventually see the light of day online or through a DVD release. Programs that were renewed for the remainder of the 2010-2011 season, although not necessarily for the typical number of episodes, but likely won’t return next season — making them one season wonders — include Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC), Better with You (ABC), Chase (NBC), The Defenders (CBS), No Ordinary Family (ABC) and The Event (NBC). That’s just speculation on my part, though, based on how they’ve performed and what I’ve read over the past few months.

Mid-Season 2010

The Deep End (ABC) – 6 Episodes
Premiered January 21st, 2010

A soapy legal drama in the vein of Grey’s Anatomy, this series focused on five young new associates at a big Los Angeles law firm. It premiered to low ratings and soon vanished, its brief run completed.

Past Life (FOX) – 7 Episodes (2 Unaired)
Premiered February 9th, 2010

FOX gave this series a special Tuesday airing and then moved it to Thursdays. It was pulled after just three episodes had aired. Two more were burned off on Fridays in late May/early June but the remaining two produced installments have never aired.

Sons of Tucson (FOX) – 13 Episodes
Premiered March 14th, 2010

FOX gave this sitcom four episodes before pulling it. The network was kind enough to burn off the remaining nine episodes during the summer of 2010.

Miami Medical (CBS) – 13 Episodes
Premiered April 2nd, 2010

Jeffrey Lieber, who wrote the pilot for what would eventually become ABC’s Lost, created this medical drama that starred Jeremy Northam. It would succumb to low ratings but CBS stuck with it through its 13-episode order.

Romantically Challenged (ABC) – 6 Episodes (2 Unaired)
Premiered April 19th, 2010

Alyssa Milano starred in this sitcom, which performed modestly but was unable to hold onto enough of its lead-in, Dancing with the Stars, to satisfy ABC. It was pulled after four episodes had been aired.

Happy Town (ABC) – 8 Episodes
Premiered April 28th, 2010

This mystery series ran for three episodes before it was pulled. ABC burned off three additional episodes and made the final two available at its website.

100 Questions (NBC) – 6 Episodes
Premiered May 27th, 2010

At its best, this sitcom could barely muster 2.5 million viewers. That it was canceled was no shock. That NBC stuck with it for six episodes was a little surprising.

Summer 2010

Persons Unknown (NBC) – 13 Episodes
Premiered June 7th, 2010

NBC aired the first five episodes of this series on Tuesday before shifting the remainder to Saturday. For some reason, the network decided not to air the 11th episode but instead made it available online. A DVD set was announced but never released.

Scoundrels (ABC) – 8 Episodes
Premiered June 20th, 2010

Virginia Madsen starred in this drama that premiered to relatively low ratings and than sank even lower over the course of the eight episode run.

The Gates (ABC) – 13 Episodes
Premiered June 20th, 2010

Although it premiered on the same day as Scoundrels, this show — about vampires living in a gated community — ran for 13 episodes rather than eight. It performed just as poorly in the ratings, though.

The Bridge (CBS) – 13 Episodes (10 Unaired)
Premiered July 10th, 2010

A Canadian drama, this series premiered with two episodes aired back-to-back. CBS broadcast one additional episode the following week and then pulled the plug. A second season has been ordered by CTV, a Canadian network.

18 to Life (The CW) – 12 Episodes (6 Unaired)
Premiered August 3rd, 2010

Another Canadian series, this sitcom lasted three weeks on The CW (two episodes were broadcast back-to-back). Again, a second season has been ordered by a Canadian network, this time CBC.

Fall 2010

Outlaw (NBC) – 8 Episodes
Premiered September 15th, 2010

NBC gave this Jimmy Smits legal drama a special Wednesday broadcast before it moved to its regular Friday timeslot. After three episodes, the series was shifted to Saturday. The eighth and final episode aired on November 13th.

Lone Star (FOX) – 6 Episodes (4 Unaired)
Premiered September 20th, 2010

The first cancellation of the 2010-2011 season. Very low ratings for the premiere led to immediate speculation that it would be pulled. Lower ratings for the second episode sealed the deal.

Running Wilde (FOX) – 13 Episodes (5 Unaired)
Premiered September 21st, 2010

FOX paired this series with another new sitcom, Raising Hope, but only one was renewed for the remainder of the 2010-2011 season. The remaining five episodes will probably be burned off by FOX at some point.

The Whole Truth (ABC) – 13 Episodes (7 Unaired)
Premiered September 22nd, 2010

Rob Morrow and Maura Tierney starred in this legal drama that never got off the ground.

Undercovers (NBC) – 13 Episodes (2 Unaired)
Premiered September 22nd, 2010

Created and produced by J.J. Abrams, NBC seems to have had very high hopes for this thriller. Low ratings that only got lower as the season progressed soon led to cancellation. NBC has yet to announce when or if the final two episodes will be broadcast.

My Generation (ABC) – 8 Episodes (6 Unaired)
Premiered September 23rd, 2010

This drama ran for just two episodes before it was pulled. A total of eight were produced. The six unaired episodes can be watched online at Hulu.com by viewers in the United States.

3 Comments

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    “RUNNING WILDE” IS being burned off- on Saturdays at midnight(et). Apparently, Fox had a deal with creator/producer Mitchell Hurwitz to schedule all 13 episodes, regardless of whether they aired in prime-time or not. Late Saturday nights [11pm-12:30am] on Fox are currently a “dumping ground” for repeats or “castoffs” of prime-time series. Bring back Spike Feresten!!!!
    ;)

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    “MIAMI MEDICAL” (originally developed as “MIAMI TRAUMA”) was one of CBS’ “iron clad” deals with producer Jerry Bruckheimer [he currently produces about two nights worth of the network's prime-time schedule, including the three "CSI" series]. 13 episodes were produced, 13 were “burned off”, regardless of how well the series performed in prime-time {for THAT, they gave “NUMB3RS” the early heave-ho?}.

    According to the author of “Sitcom Bombs”, Rick Irvin, “100 QUESTIONS” was to have been titled “100 QUESTIONS FOR CHARLOTTE PAYNE”. It was also an NBC/Universal “in-house” series, and that’s why it’s NOT surprising the network “burned off” the six episodes on Thursdays at 8:30pm(et) during May and June 2010 [they knew it was a "bomb", but they recouped some of their "investment" by scheduling it during the summer]. Same with FOX’s ‘SONS OF TUSCON”: they co-produced it, and if they hadn’t “buried” the remaining first-run episodes of Saturday/Sundays at 12am(et), Sundays at 7pm(et) during the summer would do. ABC also did the same with “THE GATES” {“We own it, so let’s make a little money off it before we stuff it into the vault”}.

    Why NBC stuck with “PERSONS UNKNOWN” is a mystery, as THEY didn’t produce it {Fox Television did}. Except for one episode, all of them appeared on the network.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Good point, ‘LYMNGYDAY’! The same applies to most television executives when they buy and schedule new programs every season. For example, look at all the “disasters” NBC presented this past season- because of all those consistent failures, Jeff Zucker FINALLY had to leave NBC Universal as its president and CEO when Comcast bought controlling interest in the company…even though he KNEW almost all of the new shows he approved in 2010 were absolute stiffs…”THE EVENT”? ‘SCHOOL PRIDE”?? “THE CAPE”???? “UNDERCOVERS”???? “OUTSOURCED”????? I mean, really!!!! And now he gets to produce Katie Couric’s new daily talk/interview show when Disney/ABC begins syndicating it it 2012. He’s come full circle, hasn’t he? That’s what he was doing on “THE TODAY SHOW” before NBC chose him in 2000 to be their prime-time programming executive in the first place. He took a first-rate network and, because of his incompetence in dealing with producers and arrogance in making programming decisions no sane person would have made [Jay Leno in prime-time every weeknight???], turned it into a FIFTH-rate one!

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