Bad news for aspiring royals: Fox has pulled the reality show "I Wanna Marry 'Harry'" from its schedule after just four episodes.
In the series, a gaggle of attractive and gullible twentysomething ladies compete for the affections of a young man who kinda-sorta resembles Prince Harry but who, in real life, is a 23-year-old named Matthew Hicks who makes a living cleaning up oil spills. Although no one explicitly claims that Hicks is Prince Harry, the show goes to dramatic lengths -- think dramatic helicopter entrances, a team of security guards and lots of cryptic references to family -- to create that impression.
The May 20 premiere of "I Wanna Marry 'Harry'" attracted an underwhelming 1.9 million curiosity seekers and the series has since seen its ratings dip to less than 1 million viewers -- disastrous numbers for a broadcast network, even in summer.
The remaining four episodes of the the series will be made available to watch on demand and on Hulu and Fox Now. Although Fox has not officially used the "c" word (no, not coronation -- cancellation), the network is "discussing an appropriate place on our schedule" to burn off the rest of the series, but a decision has not been made at this time, according to a Fox representative.
Fox has also yanked the the improv comedy show "Riot" from its schedule.
"I Wanna Marry 'Harry,'" which was widely panned by critics who denounced it as a cruel and sexist, was a throwback of sorts to the bottom-feeding reality programming that Fox pioneered in the early and mid-aughts, most obviously to "Joe Millionaire," the 2003 series in which a blue-collar construction worker posed as a wealthy bachelor looking for love. Some observers, including James Poniewozik of Time, are already hailing the show's demise as a rare triumph for good taste and basic humanity.
Whatever the case may be, the failure of "I Wanna Marry 'Harry'" means we won't have to endure a contemporary update of "The Littlest Groom" any time soon.