Do you remember these TV programs? Probably not—they were watched by so few people that they were the first new fall show to get the axe in their respective year.
2018: The Alec Baldwin Show
After debuting as a special in March 2018 called Sundays with Alec Baldwin, that fall, ABC brought back the one-on-one talk show featuring the 30 Rock star and temperamental tabloid fixture to its Sunday night lineup under a new name. It’s the first time since NBC debuted the flop The Jay Leno Show in 2009 that a talk show has aired in primetime…and The Alec Baldwin Show did about as well. After three low-rated airings, ABC quietly moved the show to Saturday nights to burn off its last few episodes.
2017: Me, Myself, and I
Bobby Moynihan left a big role on another show — he was part of the cast of Saturday Night Live — to star in his own sitcom, this complicated CBS show that jumped between three different timelines. Moynihan played the 40-year-old version of a guy, Night Court veteran John Larroquette portrayed him as an older man, and a kid played him as, well, a kid. After six episodes, CBS removed the show from its schedule.
Shortly after canceling her Marvel Comics inspired, World War II-set series Agent Carter, ABC gave actress Hayley Atwell another job right away, portraying an attorney in the umpteenth legal drama on TV. After four episodes, ABC canceled it, announcing the news on Election Day so as to bury the news.
2015: Wicked City
Producers of this show about the history of the criminal underbelly were at least ambitious. Each season would look at a different era of the seedy doings in the City of Angels. The first season focused on the ‘80s, and it would also be the last. Critics called it overly violent, but that didn’t matter to ABC as much as its ratings. After less than two million tuned in to episode #3, Wicked City closed down.
It’s probably got good marketing for a show to give it such a generic name. Despite critical notices for its cast (Ray Liotta, Virginia Madsen) and crew (it was created by The West Wing and ER producer John Wells), and despite a healthy 8.3 million viewers, CBS canceled it after three episodes. The reason: The network spent a huge $3 million per episode on Smith, and expected blockbuster viewership numbers in return.