If I had the chance to run the networks, “Happy Endings,” “Revolution” and “The Neighbors” would still be on the air – and I’d be out of a job.
There was a time when network executives could justify bottom-dwelling series such as “Cheers” and “Seinfeld,” in hopes that audiences would eventually come around.
But in these times of stiffer competition and a heightened struggle for advertising dollars, there’s no time for sentimentality.
That shouldn’t stop fans from continuing to root for the little guy. As networks get ready to announce their 2015-16 schedules to advertisers next month – and thereby ring the death knell for a number of shows on the bubble – it’s time to make one last plea for our favorites.
Not that those black-hearted suits are listening.
“ABOUT A BOY” (NBC)
Viewership: 4.6 million (average).
Chances of survival: 5-1. This adaptation of the Hugh Grant movie never got much support from a network desperate for a hit sitcom.
My verdict: David Walton’s nifty impression of a young Bill Murray is reason enough to root for this underdog. Let’s hear it for the boy!
Viewership: 5.9 million.
Chances of survival: 8-1. Despite being paired with “American Idol” and, later, “Bones,” Rainn Wilson’s “House”-like detective hasn’t caught on, in large part because the story lines have been as sloppy as his wardrobe.
My verdict: Close this case and let Wilson make a triumphant return to the Guthrie.
“CSI: CYBER” (CBS)
Viewership: 11.7 million.
Chances of survival: 2-1. The numbers would be impressive for most dramas, but this procedural is a member of TV’s most successful franchise and expectations run high.
My verdict: Patricia Arquette, fresh off an Oscar win, should be doing more than monitoring websites. Put her out of this misery.
“FRESH OFF THE BOAT” (ABC)
Viewership: 6.8 million.
Chances of survival: 1-2. The audience has shrunk since this sitcom’s promising premiere, but the network would have to do some serious damage control if it canceled the first Asian-American sitcom that has hit potential.
My verdict: Keep the boat afloat. Constance Wu, who plays the ultimate tiger mom, has my early vote for breakout star of the year.
Viewership: 2.4 million.
Chances of survival: 1-2. Any new show drawing more than 2 million viewers is positive news for the CW. Plus, the dramedy’s “Buffy”-like wit and action speak to young women, the network’s core audience.
My verdict: Along with “The Flash,” this is the CW’s finest series. No-brainer.
“MARRY ME” (NBC)
Viewership: 4.4 million.
Chance of survival: 5-1. Is NBC the place sitcoms go to die? If the network can’t turn this super-smart, super-cute show into a contender, it has serious image issues.
My verdict: If the series does get the ax – and I hope it doesn’t – the network should promptly sign actress Casey Wilson to another series. It’s only a matter of time before she’s a major star.
“THE MINDY PROJECT” (FOX)
Viewership: 2.9 million.
Chances of survival: 3-1. Mindy Kaling is a genuine talent, but audiences seem to have drifted away after her character’s love life improved.
My verdict: I’m tempted to scrap this project, but Mindy stumbling into motherhood could be comedy gold. Let’s give this sitcom the ultimate Mother’s Day gift of one more season.
“ONE BIG HAPPY” (NBC)
Viewership: 4.6 million.
Chances of survival: 7-1. “2 Broke Girls” owns the market on bawdy sex jokes.
My verdict: You know you’re in trouble when your material makes “Three’s Company” look like “Masterpiece Theatre.” Pass.
“SECRETS & LIES” (ABC)
Viewership: 7.8 million.
Chances of survival: 3-1. Star power (Ryan Phillippe, Juliette Lewis) and a compelling murder case have given this limited series a fighting chance.
My verdict: It all depends on Lewis, who plays the most intimidating detective since Vic Mackey on “The Shield.” If writers keep providing her with crackling dialogue, book this drama for the long haul.
“STATE OF AFFAIRS” (NBC)
Viewership: 7.6 million.
Chance of survival: 6-1. On paper, not a bad audience draw – except the median age is much older than NBC would like. Also, Katherine Heigl isn’t winning any popularity contests.
My verdict: Never thought I’d say this, but Heigl should return to tepid romantic comedies.