Let’s Predict the First “Cancellation” of the 2019-2020 Season

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.

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What will be the first "cancellation" of the 2019-2020 season?

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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:

2009-2010The 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]
2018-2019I 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.

22 Replies to “Let’s Predict the First “Cancellation” of the 2019-2020 Season”

  1. I’d go with Bless the Hearts. FOX has an abysmal record of putting shows after the Simpsons, and being that it’s animated it takes longer to make any more episodes so the decision is made quicker.

    1. It will get a full 13 episode season regardless. It’s a CW show and they’re slow to cancel, and use to low ratings on their shows. And the big Crisis crossover could draw a lot of initial viewers.

  2. A tough one this year! I went with Emergence for 2 reasons: [a] ABC’s bad luck on Tuesday at 10 and [b] the promos were flat and didn’t really tell you anything about the show. For the fourth year in a row, we may not know the true first cancellation until next spring!

    1. PS I know we get long periods when new shows aren’t canceled, but I’m certain that The Playboy Club, Made In Jersey and Lucky 7 were dropped long before October 2014! Next time, maybe do some research on Wikipedia!

      1. PSS Checked it and on Playboy and Lucky you had the right dates but the wrong years. On Made In Jersey, the show was suspended in October but burned off in December. To split hairs even further, Doubt and Me Myself & I had summer burns of leftover shows!

  3. “Two sitcoms can claim they were the first cancellation of the 2017-2018 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.”

    I think you meant 2018-2019 season in that first sentence.

      1. Yeah, and I Feel Bad just noses out Rel by 10 days! Really, why can’t networks cancel bad series quickly? Were they afraid Netflix would steal them…GMAFB!!!

  4. I feel like Emergence will do badly, even if it isn’t the first cancelled. I get the impression that it relies too much upon emotional drama rather than actual story.

    But it’s hard to say if it will be the first since most of the new shows don’t seem that strong. And almost all the new dramas seem to be aiming at the same female market and may also wind up playing too much on emotions rather than story. We’re also not seeing shows like Deception, Limitless and Person of Interest that try to be a little experimental and take a chance.

    1. Have not seen the premiere yet, but the previews suggest that this is one of those shows that sets up a big story but never really tells it. Also, it’s up against 2 successful shows [NCIS:NO and New Amsterdam], and I can’t see anyone switching over! I disagree about not seeing a fresh show, and I believe Evil might be a happy surprise!

  5. Just noticed you put cancellation in quotes. Very clever considering how the networks are against killing any series until they absolutely must! Lucky 7 may have been the last series to die a quick death and that was 6 years ago!! Every other show has lingered either as burnoffs or exiled to viral!

    1. Well. you posted the same sentence twice, but you make a good point! Sunnyside has about half the audience I Feel Bad had in the same time slot last year , and THAT show got pulled in only 3 months!! And you put quotes on removed for a reason: NBC may take shows off, but it takes another 6 months to “cancel” them [Notice MY quotes…LOL!!!] !

  6. “Sunnyside” might be the first show to be “removed” from a network schedule.

    It’s been losing viewers two weeks in a row.

      1. It’s official: Sunnyside is DEAD!! NBC’s last broadcast is tomorrow night, the remaining 7 episodes go to Hulu!

  7. You can scratch Prodigal Son from this list as it has gotten a full season order. Also, I must point out that even though Bob Hearts Abishola is in the lead,it doesn’t mean it’s dead. I looked back at last year and the most votes went to The Conners, which is still on the air despite running against The Voice and NCIS!!

    1. I took a look back and if you really want to split hairs [yes,I’m that guy], the first cancellation of fall 2017 was Marvel’s Inhumans, but I would argue that ABC said up front that it was going to be a LIMITED series, and therefore not elligable!

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