This is something that I don’t want to face, but I may have to face the facts – ABC’s Cougar Town will be cancelled at the end of this season.
Cougar Town, starring Courtney Cox, Busy Phillips, Dan Byrd, Christa Miller, and Josh Hopkins, always had to fight an uphill battle. It started its first season when it premiered directly after ABC’s mega-hit Modern Family, but never attracted the audience that MF did. Another thing the show had to deal with is the awful title. Cougar Town. When people hear the title of this show (which started right when the term “Cougar” became popular), it had the connotation that the show was all about a cougar prowling on younger guys.
The comedy did begin life following Cox’s character, Jules, as she dated tried to date younger men after her divorce. The show quickly shifted focus on Jules’ family and friends in her cul-de-sac. Once this shift took place, Cougar Town swiftly became one of TV’s best ensemble comedies.
I looked forward to watching Cougar Town on Wednesday nights for the past 2 seasons just as much as I looked forward to watching Modern Family, The Middle, and Happy Endings. Cougar Town has always been a “bubble show” – meaning that its renewal was made at the last-minute, keeping its loyal fans biting their nails for a decision from the network. Its status as a bubble show was furthered cemented when ABC held the third season hostage until February and reducing the season order from the traditional 24 to only 15.
I’ve always been optimistic about the shows chances for renewal, but this time, I’m not so sure.
The first thing the show has working against it is the shows terrible season three timeslot, Tuesdays at 830p.m. after Last Man Standing. I’m not criticizing Last Man, but these two shows are on the complete opposite sides of the ABC sitcom spectrum. Last Man Standing is a “traditional” four camera sitcom with a live studio audience, whereas Cougar Town is single camera. Not only that, but the shows appeal are and targeted to two totally different audiences, and they have two different styles of comedy.
Cougar Town‘s ratings – terrible. Season 3 premiered on Valentines Day, a day where the shows target audience, Women 18-34 and 18-49 are out with their Valentines. The season premiere drew a paltry 4.85 million viewers and a 1.8 in the demo. Week 2 dropped to a 1.7 in the demo, and Tuesday’s episode dropped to a season low of 1.5. It also didn’t help that Fox aired a special edition of American Idol opposite of Cougar Town. CT‘s ratings have been bad before, but never this bad.
Last week was the finale nail in the coffin. Two Cougar Town stars, Dan Byrd (Travis) and Josh Hopkins (Grayson) have booked pilots on opposite networks for next season. Byrd has been cast in CBS’ untitled multi-camera sitcom from writer Louis C.K., and Hopkins is set to star in NBC’s Lady Friends. Both of these shows are in “second position” to Cougar Town, meaning that if Cougar Town is renewed, their roles in their pilots will need to be recast, and they’ll both continue on Cougar Town. But if actors are starting to look for other jobs “just in case” – things aren’t looking good.
I will watch Cougar Town right up until the season (series) finale. As of now, it will take just short of a miracle for this show to be renewed for a fourth season. In the meantime, the loyal group of Cougar Town fans out here are just going to have to sit back with our big glasses of wine, play Penny Can, and wait anxiously for ABC to decide the fate of one of TV’s most underrated and overlooked comedy series.