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The First 5 Shows of the Fall Likely to Be Cancelled

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 21, 2012 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 21, 2012 |

Last week was upfronts, and Seth did a marvelous job of outlining the schedules and new shows for each of the networks: NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, and the CW. Now that we’ve had time to digest all the previews from the upcoming slate of new shows on the networks, it’s time to make some educated guesses about which shows will perform well, and which will be the first to meet the cancellation fairy.

Here are the first five shows I predict will be cancelled.

1. The Neighbors (ABC): Not only is this the worst looking new sitcom of the season, it’s in a timeslot — Wednesdays at 9:30 after “Modern Family” — that has certain expectations that have yet to be met. “Modern Family” hasn’t been able to make hits out of “Cougar Town” (cancelled, moved to TBS), Matthew Perry’s “Mr. Sunshine” (cancelled), “Happy Endings” (modestly rated, moved to Tuesdays next fall) or “Don’t Trust the B—— in Apt. 23” (ditto), and it’s certainly not going to make a hit of what looks like an awful attempt to replicate the decidedly 90’s show, “3rd Rock from the Sun.” Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if ABC had second thoughts about running this show in that time slot, but if it does, “The Neighbors” likely won’t make it until its sixth episode before the the attrition from the “Modern Family” lead-in kills it. After all, it’s expected to help launch “Nashville” at 10, and that can’t be done if it loses 40 percent of its lead-in.

2. Guys with Kids (NBC) — The Wednesday night 8:30 slot has not been kind to NBC. “Free Agents” got the quick boot last season, and “Are You There, Chelsea?” didn’t make it to season two, and “Best Friends Forever” didn’t make it to its fourth episode in that time slot. I don’t expect much better for “Guys with Kids,” a terrible-looking laugh-track sitcom produced by Jimmy Fallon about 30-something Dads trying to balance fatherhood and their own idiocy.

3. Go On (NBC) — Tuesdays at 9:00 is a sitcom bloodbath, with “New Girl,” “Happy Endings” and Matthew Perry’s latest, “Go On” all competing against one another (not to mention the top 10 “NCIS” on CBS). At least one sitcom is not going to escape, and despite “The Voice” lead-in, I suspect “Go On” will be the first to bite the dust based simply on Perry’s meager track record and the relative blandness of the “Go On” preview. It might be “Happy Endings” that sees the cancellation fairy first, but I would be more inclined to bet against the new show against returning shows.

4. Do No Harm — Not a terrible premise — a “Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde” show about a neurosurgeon by day, sociopathic nymphomaniac by night — but Sundays at 10:00 is one of the most difficult time slots on the schedule since it will be going up against whatever is on AMC, HBO, and Showtime, as well as competition from the other networks, including “The Mentalist.” The fact that “Celebrity Apprentice” is the lead-in does not speak well of its future, either. “Do No Harm” doesn’t debut until January so it can’t actually be one of the first five shows of the new season to be cancelled, but I’m guessing it doesn’t make it to episode five.

5. Last Resort (ABC) — Don’t expect Shawn Ryan’s new show, which will also land on the 5 Most Promising Shows of the Fall Season, to last long, not because it won’t be a good show, but because Shawn Ryan doesn’t have a great track record on the networks (“Chicago Code,” “The Unit,” “Lie to Me”) and because of the brutal timeslot. “Last Resort” looks like a 10:00 drama targeted at the male demo, but it’s airing at 8:00 on Thursdays followed by the demo-reversing “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” on ABC (not exactly male-targeted shows). Moreover, that’s the toughest time-slot on TV, going head to head with the top rated “Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men” on CBS; the second most profitable show on television, “The X-Factor” on Fox; and the established “30 Rock” and “Up All Night” on NBC. I wouldn’t be surprised to see The CW’s “Vampire Diaries” outscore “Last Resort” in the Nielsens during the same time slot. It is, after all, the same time slot that “Charlie Angels” met its maker early last season.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.