The once almighty NBC suffered two blows this week by announcing the first two cancellations of the season. Poor NBC.
The 1960’s era drama The Playboy Club and the Hank Azaria/Kathryn Hahn starring comedy Free Agents were both cancelled this week by NBC’s new chairman Bob Greenblatt.
Over the span of three episodes, The Playboy Club dropped in each of its airings, with the last episode airing Monday, October 3rd only attracting 3.4 million viewers. The writing has been on the wall ever since The Playboy Club premiered Monday September 19th, which only grabbed 5.02 million, which was well below what was expected for this drama since this show had a huge promotional push by the network since mid-summer.
The Free Agents premiere started off well airing after NBC’s recently picked up comedy Up All Night. How ever, Up All Night got a special preview after the summer finale of reality behemoth America’s Got Talent; Free Agents didn’t get that extra push, which may be a reason why the second airing of Free Agents lost 50% of its audience (6.1 million down to 3.8 million viewers).
Usually news of these shows being cancelled wouldn’t be such a big deal. But they come as somewhat of a surprise since NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt made an announcement on Thursday, September 29th saying that he wouldn’t be rushing to cancel either The Playboy Club or Free Agents, saying “We want to give all freshmen shows more time to find their audience and also send a message to the creative community that we will give their shows on NBC every possible chance to succeed.” This made since last week, seeing that the majority of its signature shows (The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Chuck) took time to find their audiences’ over time, which sometimes can take upwards to a whole seasons worth of episodes to do. It was expected that The Playboy Club and Free Agents would be on air at least until November.
Now this big question is what will NBC be doing with its two recently vacant timeslots? NBC has already announced that repeats of another (surprisingly) low rated new drama Prime Suspect will fill Playboy’s Monday 10p.m. slot until October 31st where the network will debut its new primetime newsmagazine “Rock Center with Brian Williams.” Many are wondering what will happen to its Wednesday comedy lineup. Will the out-of-place-on-Thursday-nights Whitney move to the 830p.m. slot (where it should have been scheduled in the first place) and bring in another comedy on Thursday? Possibly 30 Rock? An announce should be made within the next couple of days.
Farewell, The Playboy Club and Free Agents.