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Television

Why ‘Wicked City’ became fall TV’s first canceled show

ABC cancels ‘Wicked City’

Taissa Farmiga stars in  "Wicked City.”  

(Eric McCandless / ABC)

“Wicked City” has earned a dubious distinction: The ABC drama is not just fall TV’s first canceled show, it’s fall TV’s only canceled show.

The network pulled the plug on the crime drama late last week after airing only three episodes. The series involves two Los Angeles cops on the trail of serial killers on the Sunset Strip.

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What’s notable is that ABC yanked “Wicked City” at a time when executives have been reluctant to cut any new show on the theory that it may take a long time for ratings trends to develop in the age of the DVR. Instead, networks are cutting back on the number of episodes they order, reasoning that at least such a move will reduce their potential risk if the series ultimately doesn’t pan out.

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So why the unlucky exception for “Wicked City”?

Simply put, the ratings were atrocious — and getting worse. The Oct. 27 premiere drew an underwhelming 3.3 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. And over the next two airings, half the viewers bailed.

There was no sign that the show might be gaining a foothold. And with numbers that low, it was unlikely that delayed viewing would ride to the rescue.

So whatever else “Wicked City” failed to do, it at least established a new bottom threshold for prime time.

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Did you watch “Wicked City”? What did you think?

Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT

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