NBC cancels shows in search of scripted-series comeback

Pablo Schreiber, left, Blair Underwood and Spencer Grammer in NBC's "Ironside."
Pablo Schreiber, left, Blair Underwood and Spencer Grammer in NBC’s “Ironside.”
(Vivian Zink / NBC)

To the surprise of almost no one, NBC on Friday canceled two of its lowest-rated new fall series, “Ironside” and “Welcome to the Family.”

“Ironside” was a remake of the classic Raymond Burr series about a disabled detective, this time starring Blair Underwood. “Welcome to the Family” was NBC’s stab at making a “Modern Family” clone about two blended, multi-ethnic clans.

Until January, NBC will replace “Ironside” in the 10 p.m. Wednesday slot with a mix of “Dateline” crime packages and holiday specials. “Chicago P.D.,” a spin-off of “Chicago Fire,” will take over on Jan. 8.

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“Parks and Recreation,” the comedy that airs at 8 p.m. Thursday, will expand to fill the entire hour, including the 8:30 slot that “Welcome to the Family” occupied. In January, “Community” will return at 8, followed by “Parks and Recreation.”

The moves come as NBC finds itself at a crossroads. The network -- which suffered through years of poor ratings -- is No. 1 so far this fall in the key adults aged 18 to 49 demographic, the group most sought by big advertisers.

However, most of that strength is due to Sunday NFL football games - which disappear in January - as well as the singing smash “The Voice.” On Wednesdays and Thursdays, NBC has posted some of its lowest ratings ever with new shows this fall. The Thursday problem is especially painful, as that is one of the most lucrative nights of the week for advertising.

But things look considerably better for NBC this winter than they did last season. The Winter Olympics will help the network avoid the ratings fall-off it saw last January. It also has a much-anticipated Sunday drama in “Believe,” a supernatural fantasy from J.J. Abrams and “Gravity” director Alfonso Cuaron.

What do you think of NBC’s latest maneuvers?


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