One of the Fall TV season’s first cancellations is the NBC comedy “Sunnyside” starring Kal Penn. The show had been pulling-in a tad over 1 million viewers in its live airings for most of its (few) episodes. So the network had to make a quick adjustment.
They decided to move-up the premiere of the final season of “Will & Grace” (or rather, the second final season) from January to this Thursday October 24th. It’s going into “Sunnyside”’s timeslot: Thursday nights at 9:30pm.
It’s a night and time that used to bring NBC some security, stability and popularity: “Night Court” in the ‘80s, “Seinfeld”’s first few episodes in the Summer of 1990, “Frasier” in its first year, “Veronica’s Closet”, “Just Shoot Me!”, “Scrubs”, “The Office”, “30 Rock”, “Community”, “Parks and Recreation” and even the original run of “Will & Grace” have all been here.
But Thursdays at 9:30 hasn’t been great for NBC, especially lately. The first major casualty: “Good Morning, Miami” in the 2002-’03 TV season. In Spring 2007, just six episodes for “Andy Barker, P.I.” “Outsourced” bombed in 2010, followed by the short-lived “Whitney” and “Up All Night” sharing the 2011-’12 year.
In January 2013, Josh Gad’s promising “1600 Penn” debuted, but the laughs just weren’t there. “The Michael J. Fox Show” hoped to be a hit that Fall, but that didn’t happen, either. And in Fall 2014, NBC lost faith in darling “A to Z” (pictured), cancelling it after five weeks – though at least it let all 13 episodes air.
“The Blacklist” broke-up the comedies on Thursdays over the next few years, with the “Must-See TV” brand name brought back in Fall 2017. “Great News”, which was a surprise hit that spring after just 10 episodes, was given a 13-episode second season that Fall in the 9:30 slot, after the “W&G” revival. But “GN” couldn’t deliver the goods to stick around.
“Champions” and “I Feel Bad” were on the way. Both didn’t last long. This Spring’s “Abby’s” (the first-ever multicam sitcom filmed in front of a live, outdoor audience) was canned after a 10-episode single season. And now “Sunnyside” is the latest casualty, with “W&G” coming to the rescue.
So what’s the problem: Is it the football competition, is the show quality, or does NBC just not value that timeslot much and give the programs in it a real chance? To be honest, I think it’s a combination of all three.