The major networks on basic television which are ABC, CBS, and NBC, with a few that seem to generate the younger audience-aimed shows such as Fox and CW, are known for their annual review and cancellations of beloved, and not so beloved, shows. As much as they like to introduce fresh new shows into the mix, they can also be brutal when it comes to cancellations.
With some of the more recent cancellations, longevity and fan protest had no bearing on the final decision, leaving many fans disappointed and some plot questions unanswered. Some shows, such as Doubt, didn’t make it past two episodes and doesn’t seem like it was something that many people are clamoring to get back.
Shows based on fairy tales, buddy cop movies, suspenseful movies and shows from the 1960s have all been put on the chopping block as not being good enough. Ratings, profit, and positive reviews are all that matters in the world of television, and sometimes it takes some very high standards being met in order to lay low and to stay safe on these networks.
Many of these shows did the best they could to stay out of the cancellation scope of their networks but ultimately, will leave the scene and make room for, hopefully, better shows.
19. Bones (Fox)
This show starring Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz had a very respectable 12 season run before getting canceled this year. There will be no season 13, and the original season finale for season 12 is much different than the creator had pictured in his mind.
Nonetheless, the season finale that was written is enough of a wrap-up that the show can explain as many of the mysteries within the individual storylines each episode has. When asked about a reunion, neither of the lead actors sounded really thrilled at the possibility, with David saying he’d like to just move on and progress in his career and Emily saying at the very least she would want some time away from playing her character again.
18. Dr. Ken (ABC)
Dr. Ken is a relatively new show. After only two seasons, ABC has canceled the show, starring Ken Jeong. The show is based on Jeong’s experience as a doctor prior to becoming a stand-up comedian. It centers around a badly run clinic, with Jeong as a doctor with a therapist wife, intelligent but socially awkward son, and a socially popular typical-teen daughter.
Between the two seasons, there is a total of 44 episodes. During its run, it often ran alongside with Tim Allen’s show Last Man Standing, which has also been canceled. The season ender had somewhat of a nostalgic ending, with guest stars of his former co-stars on Community where the fictionalized version of himself auditions to be on a show set at a community college.
The ratings never really soared for the show, but they never really tanked either, this is just another show that is canceled to make room for something that could be better and more profitable for the network.
17. Girl Meets World (Disney Channel)
Many shows lately have been trying to ride the nostalgia wave, bringing back memories of the 1990s television shows and this one is no different. Many of the viewers that tuned in for the first episodes were anxious to see the result of the original show Boy Meets World characters, Topanga and Corey, and if they ever stayed together or departed.
As it turns out, they have stayed together this whole time, making a family of their own and sharing their daughter’s adventures as she grows up and meets the world as her own person.
The show failed to really hold interest in the nostalgia crowd once most of the questions were answered, and to top it off, being on the Disney channel made the writers fairly restricted on what issues it could tackle in the modern age without losing the interest of the original Disney channel crowd, which averages between 6 and 14 years of age. The show had a run of two seasons.
16. The Vampire Diaries (CW)
The decision to end this show was announced at a Comic-Con in San Diego to a very displeased crowd. The show had just wrapped up its eighth season when it was announced that they would not be returning for a ninth season.
Eight seasons is a moderately respectable run considering some other shows are losing their spots after only two or three seasons. Many shows seem to grow stale after a few seasons, with the biggest shock of the show being the death of a favorite, and it’s not uncommon for the audience to be greatly reduced once that favorite has been killed off.
In the case of The Vampire Diaries, the fan favorite was the character Elena, played by actress Nina Dobrev. She ended up returning in the final season for one last farewell, as the show shut the curtain to Mystic Falls and the residents therein.
15. Pretty Little Liars (Freeform)
This show is the epitome of what it would look like if everyone was beautiful. Even the ones that are considered not beautiful in their fictional forms are, indeed, the image of smoldering beauty and wickedly handsome features.
The show is based on a book series by Sara Shephard which is classified as a teen thriller series and, truth be told, the book series is much shorter and much less repetitive than the show. Most of the cast has since moved on and found other roles pretty quickly, especially since Lucy Hale is exploring the singing side of fame as well.
14. Rush Hour (CBS)
Based on the comedy movie that was popular decades ago, Rush Hour just never really hit the mark for CBS. Thinking it would be met with the same eyes that found the movie franchise so great, the network was so wrong on that point that the show only made it one season before getting canned.
It probably didn’t help that the only time slot it got was 10 p.m. on Thursdays, due to so much better — and more popular — competition. It is one of many shows that has a big-screen predecessor, with other shows such as Limitless and Frequency also being spinoffs of their movies.
The diversity of the show’s cast was welcomed with open arms and some critics even say it was a wasted opportunity to have such a diverse show get kicked off the air so fast. However, CBS is not known for wasting time if a show is not as popular as it wants it to be and therefore, canceled the budding buddy show.
13. 2 Broke Girls (CBS)
The comedy started in 2011, starring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs as Max and Caroline. They are waitresses hoping to one day open their own business. It looks like audiences will never know if their dream can be achieved or not because the show, aired on CBS, has been canceled and will not see the seventh season.
The main reason behind the cancellation is the failed negotiations between CBS and Warner Bros., who produce the show. CBS had no ownership in the show and that seems to be the reason behind the beloved show’s demise.
The ratings had a rocky start, gradually climbing and eventually becoming one of the network’s highest watched shows, with a gradual decline as the show went on but the fans that have stuck it out until the end will never see the fruits of their time watching it, as the last episode aired was a cliffhanger that will never be answered.
12. American Crime (ABC)
Despite having multiple Emmy nominations, this show was canceled during the third season and will not be returning for a fourth. The ratings never really got where they should have been, although the cast and the Emmy nominations both agree that it was indeed a good show and had many eyes on it.
Fans of the show commented that it was a riveting, well-written show and they were definitely surprised that it was the one that made it all the way to the chopping block. Some speculate that it was slid out of the running by the return of American Idol¸ and like other shows, are hoping a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu will scoop up the show and make it their own.
11. Last Man Standing (ABC)
Perhaps one of the most surprising cancellations is this show simply because Tim Allen’s return to sitcom television was so successful. There is speculation that Allen’s conservative political views may have played a role in the series’ cancellation, which was vehemently denied by the president of ABC Entertainment, Channing Dungey.
The show was in its sixth season and the cancellation seemed rather abrupt to viewers but Dungey insists they used the same formula and number-crunching as all the other canceled shows in order to make the final decision of canceling Allen’s much-loved modern sitcom. Another deciding factor may have been the need for Allen to renegotiate his contract, which would have added costs to an already aging series.
Last Man Standing was also one of the very few multi-camera comedy shows that ABC has had in many years, and after canceling it and Dr. Ken, they will open the fall season with no multi-camera comedy shows.
10. The Odd Couple (CBS)
In the spirit of trying to revive and remake the popular television shows of the past, The Odd Couple was cast with Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon. After three seasons, the show will not be coming back.
The newest version of the show, which is a remake of the 1970s ABC series which was also original a Tony-winning play, was not welcomed with the same regard as it was decades ago, even with a couple of roommates who were just as much, if not more, comically mismatched.
Many viewers are noticing a trend that these remakes and nostalgia fests aren’t quite living up to expectations and quickly getting turned off, but that won’t stop studios from making more if they think there is anything they can squeeze out of it for as long as possible. Matthew Perry is mostly known for his role on the uber-popular sitcom Friends and Thomas Lennon was on Comedy Central’s Reno 911 for many seasons.
9. American Gothic (CBS)
This is one of the shorter running shows and another victim of CBS’s stringent standards on money making for shows. It found an audience but struggled, which was ultimately its demise because although most shows start with the expectation of beating low standards, that doesn’t seem to be their actual standards they must meet.
This show, which is based around a family in Boston, is all about a killer in the midst of what should be a typical American family. Unfortunately for them, evidence has been found that links the family to some murders that had recently happened in the town and the show takes off from there.
There is a general disappointment in the viewers of this show regarding the cancellation but it seemed to be a mixed bag of what most people thought of it. Some said it was an excellent murder mystery show, others said the writing was terrible and even the cast couldn’t make it work well.
8. Doubt (CBS)
Perhaps the most embarrassing cancellation goes to Doubt which aired two episodes before canceled. Katherine Heigl’s return in the legal drama got a horribly slow start, apparently so bad that the 11 remaining episodes of season one were not even aired, even after being filmed and finished.
This is one of those that was met without mercy and without second guessing, which had to have been hard on the cast to know they couldn’t make it work regardless of their arduous work.
Described with some major burns such as being a weak legal drama and having lackluster ratings, it’s no surprise that it was canned so quickly. This is not the first, and probably won’t be the last, show that gets pulled so fast and without mercy.
7. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (CBS)
The spinoff to the popular crime series Criminal Minds was just not as popular as it should have been, which is exactly why it made our list. Gary Sinise was the main character and despite his well-known acting chops and ability to adapt to multiple roles, he couldn’t save the show from sinking when CBS felt it wouldn’t be good enough to get a third season.
Criminal Minds has made it through twelve seasons and has been renewed for a thirteenth season, so it has something special that the spinoff just never picked up and ran with. The ratings started off at a promising rate, with fans of the original show curious to see the direction it was going, but dropped during the second season which, as we can see with CBS, is enough to be the final nail in the coffin.
6. Frequency (CW)
Another show that was made from a movie has been determined not good enough for network television and will no longer air. Fortunately, this one provided a sort of Q&A for the show’s fans, giving answers that they won’t get to see played out on their weekly episodes.
Fans that are disappointed by the cancellation have suggested, again, that Netflix or Hulu will scoop it up and make it the unrestricted drama that it couldn’t be on network television. The show averaged a rating of 0.26 in adults aged 18-49 and 936,000 viewers per episode.
Because of these dismal numbers, there is seemingly no hope for it to be the show that it was destined to be. Whether or not Hulu or Netflix pick it up is not really a question at this time because it is only a fan suggested solution, and even then, it’s unsure of how well it would do.
5. Reign (CW)
The television show massacre continues at CW with Reign which will end after only its fourth season. The show never really got good ratings, even from the beginning. Reportedly, the highest rating it got over its lifespan was in the first season at a 0.8 in the 18-49 demographic but ended with averaging a 0.3 and under 1 million same-day viewers.
The historical fantasy series has writers that are fortunate enough to know they’re getting canned so they can wrap the show up in the fourth season and hopefully answer anything that the previous seasons left open for interpretation without clarification.
The final season will consist of 16 episodes, giving it plenty of opportunities to pick the most important storylines and go from there when it comes to closure for the few fans it gained over its short life.
4. Scream Queens (Fox)
The horror comedy series struggled to find its place in the network television world but made it through two seasons before getting canceled. Delayed viewing and social media buzz just weren’t enough for the show to make any real profit and hence, another one bites the dust.
Stars of the show started showing bleak confidence in the show’s continuation when they began signing on to different creative projects, leading the audience to believe that the cancellation wasn’t as much of a secret as the announcement led them to believe.
Even with the hunky cast with the likes of John Stamos and Taylor Lautner in the second season, it just wasn’t enough to keep the breath of interest and livelihood of the show. It closed out with a final episode of 0.5 rating and 1.38 million viewers.
3. Sleepy Hollow (Fox)
This supernatural cop drama was a favorite of die-hard fans but that wasn’t enough to keep the show’s metaphorical head from being put on the Fox chopping block. After the fourth season, it will not be returning, with the fourth season being the shortest season of the show.
Season four showed a rating drop that was too hard to ignore, averaging a 0.5 rating in the 18-49 demo. Not many fans were surprised about the cancellation, as some noticed a major shift in show’s direction once the showrunners started playing musical chairs. Fans weren’t happy when the fourth season began without the same cast as before and only the loyal fans of the show could stick around for the remaining story to unfold.
2. Grimm (NBC)
Another supernatural drama is buried in the cancellation pile as the show loosely based on Grimm’s Fairy Tales makes its way onto the list. The sixth season of the show, which will have a total of thirteen episodes, brings the show to an end whether they like it or not.
Unlike some of the other shows on this list, Grimm had high ratings for a few seasons, notably the second season which pulled 7 million viewers and the third season which pulled eight million viewers.
This Friday night show managed to keep the average at around six million viewers but the ratings and viewers drop was evidence enough that not enough people would stick around to watch it if the show continued much longer.
1. The Catch (ABC)
Despite her success on the Netflix series The Killing, Mireille Enos was unable to stretch this show past two seasons. Mediocre ratings greeted this show from the beginning, which is not surprising considering how many crime thriller dramas exist on network television lately.
The series has a total run of 20 episodes, which is incredibly low considering some shows have a season with 16 episodes at a time. The demo rating scored a 1.2 and got up to 5.8 million viewers for the season premiere but it was probably the varying direction of season 2 that didn’t help matters.
Usually, when a show decides something isn’t working and they completely switch it up, they understandably lose the audience that got hooked on the show for its original style which is probably why The Catch had such a dramatic rating drop and got canned.