October 16th, 2019 Update: NBC has announced plans to pull new sitcom Sunnyside after just four episodes, making it the “unofficial” first cancellation of the 2019-2020 season.
A new television season is upon us. The 2019-2020 TV season officially begins tonight. Since 2009, I’ve asked readers to predict which new fall TV show will be cancelled first. I considered renaming my annual “First Cancellation” post to something like “Let’s Predict the Biggest Flop of the 2019-2020 TV Season” but decided to put “Cancellation” in quotes instead.
Network TV has changed dramatically over the past decade and this new TV season likely won’t see the sort of quick cancellations common five or ten years ago. The broadcast networks will roll out more than a dozen new shows over the next few weeks. Daily and weekly ratings will be released and discussed and analyzed (by both experts and amateurs). Rather than cancel low-rated new shows, the networks will instead either cut back the number of episodes they ordered or do nothing.
So, rather than predict which new fall show will be cancelled first, should we try to guess which show will end first? That depends on so many factors, ranging from debut date to number of episodes produced not mention ratings and critical acclaim.
Cast Your Vote
Networks Still Slow to Cancel
Two sitcoms can claim they were the first cancellation of the 2018-2019 TV season. FOX’s Rel ended its run on January 6th, 2019. More than three months later in April, FOX cancelled the show. Meanwhile, NBC’s I Feel Bad aired for the last time on December 27th, 2018 but wasn’t officially cancelled until May. Which was the first cancellation of the season? I vote I Feel Bad, because it went off the air first.
First Cancellations, 2009-2018
Here’s a look at the first cancellation from the past nine seasons, with the cancellation date in brackets:
2009-2010 – The Beautiful Life: TBL (The CW, 2 episodes) [9/25/2009]
2010-2011 – Lonestar (FOX, 2 episodes) [9/28/2010]
2011-2012 – The Playboy Club (NBC, 3 episodes) [10/4/2011]
2012-2013 – Made in Jersey (CBS, 2 episodes) [10/10/2012]
2013-2014 – Lucky 7 (ABC, 2 episodes) [10/4/2013]
2014-2015 – Manhattan Love Story (ABC, 4 episodes) [10/24/2014]
2015-2016 – Wicked City (ABC, 3 episodes) [11/13/2015]
2016-2017 – Doubt* (CBS, 2 episodes) [2/24/2017]
2017-2018 – Me, Myself & I** (CBS, 6 episodes) [11/1/2017]
2018-2019 – I Feel Bad*** (NBC, 13 episodes) [12/27/2018]
*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.
***I Feel Bad aired for the last time on December 27th, 2018; NBC cancelled it in May 2019.
What do you think will be the first “cancellation” of the 2019-2020 season? Which new network show will end its run first? Will any of these shows perform so poorly they get yanked of the air? Share your thoughts in the comments.