Let’s Predict the First Cancellation of the 2018-2019 Season

The 2018-2019 television season gets underway tonight. Every year since 2009, I’ve asked readers to predict which new fall TV show will be cancelled first. Given how the networks are loath to actually cancel new shows these, it may be months (or longer) before the first true cancellation is announced. However, we will likely know much whether any of the 18 new network shows debuting in the coming weeks are doomed, even if the networks refuse to make the inevitable cancellations official.

Viewers have already had the chance to watch “sneak previews” of two new shows: Rel on FOX and I Feel Bad on NBC. Many more will premiere over the course of the next two weeks. Low ratings don’t mean nearly as much as they did a decade ago or even five years ago. Shows with few viewers and seemingly weak demographics can survive for reasons we as viewers may never fully understand. That doesn’t mean we can’t make our best guesses.

Cast Your Vote

Over 630 votes were cast in last year’s “First Cancellation” poll. Let’s see if we can beat that total this year. Cast your vote for the first cancellation of the 2018-2019 season now.

[poll id=”2″]

Slow to Cancel

During the 2016-2017 season, the networks refused to officially cancel any of their new fall shows until May. The first cancellation didn’t come until February 2017 when CBS pulled its mid-season replacement Doubt off the air after just two episodes. The network later burned off the remaining 11 episodes during the summer.

Two shows can claim they were the first cancellation of the 2017-2018 season. ABC pulled new drama Ten Days in the Valley from its scheduled on October 26th, 2017 after just four weeks. But the network didn’t officially cancel it and, starting in December, began burning off the remaining episodes on Saturdays. Less than a week later on November 1st, CBS pulled its new sitcom Me, Myself & I after six weeks, effectively cancelling it. The remaining episodes didn’t air until the summer.

So, which show was the first cancellation of the 2017-2018 season? I think that dubious honor should go to Me, Myself & I.

First Cancellations, 2009-2017

Here’s a look at the first cancellation from the past nine seasons, with the cancellation date in brackets:

2009-2010The Beautiful Life: TBL (The CW, 2 episodes) [9/25/2009]
2010-2011Lonestar (FOX, 2 episodes) [9/28/2010]
2011-2012The Playboy Club (NBC, 3 episodes) [10/4/2011]
2012-2013Made in Jersey (CBS, 2 episodes) [10/10/2012]
2013-2014Lucky 7 (ABC, 2 episodes) [10/4/2013]
2014-2015Manhattan Love Story (ABC, 4 episodes) [10/24/2014]
2015-2016Wicked City (ABC, 3 episodes) [11/13/2015]
2016-2017Doubt* (CBS, 2 episodes) [2/24/2017]
2017-2018Me, Myself & I** (CBS, 6 episodes) [11/1/2017]

*If you want to get technical, Pitch (FOX) became the first fall series cancellation from the 2016-2017 season on May 1, 2017.
**ABC pulled Ten Days in the Valley from its schedule on October 26th, 2017 but didn’t officially cancel it.

What do you think will be the first cancellation of the 2018-2019 season? Rather than first cancellation, should we be predicting the first show to be pulled by a network? Hit the comments with your thoughts and predictions.

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12 Replies to “Let’s Predict the First Cancellation of the 2018-2019 Season”

  1. I’m assuming you’re not including Murphy Brown this year for the same reason you didn’t include Will & Grace last year: it’s a reboot with the same cast. However, you should therefore not include The Conners since it is a de facto continuation of Roseanne!

    1. Actually, I forgot all about the Murphy Brown revival. The main reason I left off the Will & Grace revival last year is because NBC had already renewed it for a second season, meaning it couldn’t be the first cancellation of 2017-2018. As far as I know, that hasn’t happened with the Murphy Brown revival. I think it’s a special case with too many unknowns. Does CBS have a contractual agreement to air all 13 episodes? Is there even the possibility of another season?

      As for The Conners, although it is a continuation of the Roseanne revival, it is also a separate show in many ways. I think it should be included as a potential first cancellation.

  2. Well , I’ve made my vote and the loser is…Happy Together. Each year, there’s always a show with a concept so retched you can’t believe it got on the air, and this one’s it. A vapid white rock star living with a nerdish black couple? GMAB! At least The Neighborhood has potential for social commentary. However, for the third year in a row, I suspect we won’t have any official cancellations until the new year. One final comment: God Friended Me is on CBS, not ABC!!!

    1. Thanks for the correction. I swear I went over the list two or three times looking for mistakes like that. I completely missed it.

  3. There’s fewer and fewer shows getting cancelled early, even for bad ratings. It’s not even worth trying to predict what show will get cancelled, however I can’t see how something with a premise as bad as The Neighborhood will last. Manifest had strong ratings for it’s first episode because there was a lot of interest in it, but from what I’m reading it could drop fast in the ratings.

    There seems to be more of a trend not of cancelling shows as just making short seasons and not renewing them. If the show does well they can renew it for the following season. That allows the networks to wait until spring to decide whether or not to renew a show and hope fans will have forgotten about shows that have stopped airing.

    1. You’re absolutely right, Patrick! If you read the bottom of the story, you will notice that in the last 2 seasons no show was de facto canceled until after the new year. Basically, this is proably due to the fact that [a] networks are just like Trump in that they don’t want to admit making mistakes and [b] they refuse to cancel shows until the actor options run out, for fear that another outlet could have a success with it [I call this the JAG factor]. I disagree with the presumption about The Neighborhood, if it’s done properly as social satire it could work. On the other hand, Happy Together has a concept that screams desperation [I call this the Desmond Pfeiffer factor]. Manifest could be one of those shows that start strong but fizzles fast [I’ll call this the XFL factor].

  4. I definitely should come up with a new title for these annual posts. It’s not the first cancellation we’re predicting. Rather, it’s the first new network TV show to go off the air. Either because it finishes its initial order (typically 13 episodes), has its order reduced, or is pulled off the air due to low ratings. In all three cases, an official cancellation likely won’t come until the upfronts in May.

    1. Not really, since it ran during the summer and this poll only counts fall shows. Interesting that God Friended Me was third in the poll. Not only does it have a full season order, but TV by the Numbers gives it a good chance for renewal!

  5. Well, we sorta have a loser, FINALLY! Yesterday, the star of Rel confirmed that Fox won’t renew his show, 3 months [!] after the final broadcast, thereby making it the first OFFICIAL cancellation! However, I Feel Bad, which ran its last episode nearly 3 weeks earlier, has not been canceled by NBC, and proably won’t be until next month’s upfronts!

    1. You can now cash in your tickets if you chose I Feel Bad in the race of the losers. Although Rel’s death was announced first, IFB ended before New Year’s while Rel lasted a few weeks longer!

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