​NBC Searching for New Writers, Cancels Shows

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October 22, 2013

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NBC cancels two freshman shows, Ironside and Welcome to the Family, the network announced Friday. Ironside is an updated version of the Raymond Burr police drama, but NBC said low ratings will keep the series to four episodes.

Welcome to the Family was a Thursday night comedy about a young couple’s unplanned pregnancy, but now they won’t have a chance to say goodbye. Its last airing was this week.

Replacing “Ironside” on Wednesday nights in November and December will be a mix of shows including episodes of “Dateline” and “Saturday Night Live” holiday-themed specials, NBC said.

“Parks and Recreation” episodes and specials will fill in for the departed “Welcome to the Family.”

Of these two changes, the big issue is Thursdays. The Wednesday 10 p.m. hole is one hour at the end of one night. NBC’s Thursday lineup is in such a crisis that even the guys at Chicago Fire wouldn’t know how to put it out. Last night’s three-hour block averaged only a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49, just barely edging out The CW overall. NBC’s two-hour once-signature comedy block has fallen 17 percent since last year, and 57 percent since 2009.

Yet the rest of the lineup isn’t doing much better: Parks and Recreation is averaging only a 1.6 so far, Sean Saves the World is at a 1.2 and The Michael J. Fox Show has a 2.3, a number inflated by its strong premiere week. The Michael J. Fox Show was also given a pre-pilot full-season commitment in order for the network to land the show.

The programs are the network’s first cancellations of the 2013-14 season.

ABC recently announced it dumped its new show “Lucky 7,” while CBS said last week it canceled its freshman sitcom “We Are Men.”