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 May 16 - 22, 2013 
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Idiot Box

Out With the Old

Networks sweep aside underperforming shows

By Devin D. O’Leary

“Do No Harm,” no longer on NBC

The last of the 2012-13 season finales are wrapping up, and the networks are in severe “cut our losses” mode. Last weekend, the broadcast networks started announcing their new shows for fall 2013. That means programmers have to make room in their schedules for all the new content. That’s bad news for a lot of folks in Hollywood who got a mess of pink slips last week telling them that their prime time meal tickets had been canceled.

ABC—The Alphabet net had already killed off several series that debuted in the fall: “666 Park Avenue,” “Bachelor Pad,” “Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23” and “Last Resort.” All failed to weather their first season. Med drama “Private Practice” will not return in fall after burning off its sixth (fifth and a half?) season of only 13 episodes. Struggling sitcoms “Happy Endings,” and “Malibu Country” have been axed as well. Crime dramas “Body of Proof,” and “Red Widow” are not returning either. The ridiculous, Anthony Edwards-led conspiracy thriller “Zero Hour” will never be solved, having aired three whole episodes before clocking out. Even worse, the network gave up on midseason replacement sitcom “Family Tools” after only two airings. It was the lowest-rated sitcom premiere in network history.

NBC—Floundering NBC is cleaning house, ordering up a whopping 17 new series for fall (only six are expected to hit the airwaves before 2014, meaning the network is keeping a bunch in reserve in case those fail miserably). Sitcoms “30 Rock” and “The Office” ended their runs peacefully this season. Less peaceful departures came from “1600 Penn,” “Animal Practice,” “Whitney,” “Guys with Kids, “The New Normal” and “Go On,” all of which struggled to live out their first seasons. Most troubled of all was the Will Arnett/Christina Applegate sitcom “Up All Night” which changed plot, format and showrunners on a seemingly weekly basis. Producers actually considered a second season without Applegate. Fortunately NBC put the show out of its misery before that happened. “Rock Center with Brian Williams” is yesterday’s news. Dramas “Deception” and “Smash” were put to rest. But the booby prize goes to the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-meets-“ER” series “Do No Harm,” which was euthanized in February after only two airings.

CBS—CBS held tight to its successful schedule, shedding the reality shows “Dogs in the City” and “The Job.” Dramedy “Made in Jersey” and sitcom “Partners” fell victim to low ratings earlier this year. Period drama “Vegas” crapped out, failing to get a renewal at the last minute. Sitcom “Rules of Engagement” got pulled after seven seasons (no, really). “CSI: NY,” meanwhile, made it a whole nine seasons.

FOX—FOX doesn’t have a lot to lose—in that they don’t air a lot of shows, other than “American Idol” and baseball. They did manage to shed a little weight, though, losing sitcom “Ben and Kate,” sci-fi drama “Fringe,” medical drama “The Mob Doctor” and New Age conspiracy drama “Touch.” Shockingly, “Cops” got cut from the schedule after 25 years. It was snapped up immediately by cable’s Spike TV, so don’t worry—you’ll still get your weekly dose of drunk, shirtless idiots.

THE CW—The teen-centric network lost multi-season soaps “90210,” and “Gossip Girl” while cutting newbie dramas “Cult,” “Emily Owens MD” and “The L.A. Complex.” Not that you’d notice.

Tune in next week to check out all the shows the networks will be adding this fall.
 
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