Black Friday Cancellations Bludgeon ‘Murphy Brown’ Revival, ‘Star,’ Freshmen & ‘Lethal Weapon’ Reboot

Murphy Brown Star Lethal Weapon
CBS; Fox

There are a lot of people feeling a lot of pain all over Hollywood today with the annual ruthless round of Black Friday cancellations but, Donald Trump and Clayne Crawford may be pretty pleased.

The former Celebrity Apprentice host was relentless mocked by CBS’s Murphy Brown revival and the ex-Rectify star was pink slipped from Fox’s Lethal Weapon small screen reboot last year after two allegedly difficult seasons. Now both those shows and many others are as dead as Crawford’s Lethal Weapon Martin Riggs character in what looks to be an expanded new normal on the small screen

Click on the photo above to launch our gallery of the canceled shows so far.

Days before the Upfronts start in NYC, the broadcast networks today killed off the Candice Bergen-led sitcom and the Damon Wayans co-starrer, plus a slew of newbies over the past 24 hours like CBS’ Nina Dobrev starring Fam and Damon Wayans Jr. and Amber Stevens West’s Happy Together, ABC’s Marcia Clark co-created The Fix, Fox’s Marvel offering The Gifted as well as The Cool Kids and NBC’s Amy Poehler EP’d I Feel Bad too.

As he has in the past, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman took to social media to tell those who saw their series go down today, to feel the pain, but not to let it get cripplingly bad:

Fogelman’s words of advice aside, in a year where The Big Bang Theory, The CW’s Jane the Virgin, Gotham and Elementary are all taking their final bow after years on the air, Black Friday also saw other veterans get shown the door. The Minnie Driver-led Speechless is going silent after three seasons on ABC, NBC satire Trial and Error has stumbled after two seasons and Life in Pieces was truly smashed into pieces after four seasons on CBS.

In an anticipated move that is still hard reality check, Empire co-creator Lee DanielsStar was axed too after three years by the newly streamlined Fox.

Click here to follow all the cancellations from this year’s Black Friday; updating regularly.

Proving that almost no one is safe in the splintered and ratings declining reality of the Peak TV era, denying Daniels’ musical drama a fourth season would have been inconceivable just a few years ago when Empire was the ever-rising tide that raised all ships for the still Murdoch owned net. It is a move by Fox that also would have seemed crazy when they were corporate siblings to 20th Century Fox TV and the competition from the streaming services was less intense for viewer’s limited time and attention.

However, this is a new age where most of the old rules no longer apply and, unless you are the surprisingly renewed Fresh Off the Boat, if you aren’t delivering or are on the bubble, you are the walking dead – though clearly not that Walking Dead, if you know what I mean?

With the AMC zombie apocalypse series in mind, we still don’t know the fate of Whiskey Cavalier, which has once and perhaps future TWD lead Lauren Cohan as its lead along with Scandal alum Scott Foley. Talks are still going on with WBTV I hear, but if that conversation goes south, that’ll be another newbie canceled this year. On another note, an end to Whiskey Cavalier would see ABC move even further into the lead as the Big 4 net with the most cancellations so far while NBC has the least.

While we can debate at length if the Big 4 are moving their addictions to revivals and reboots to a methadone program, there is no doubt that mergers, acquisitions and ownership are tightening the bottom line. In the case of Star and the April 17 canned Marvel themed The Gifted, both from the now Disney-owned TCFTV, the ratings just didn’t justify the price the newly minted Fox Entertainment would have to pay to take up space on its now sports heavy schedule.

That’s the real bottom line for not just Fox but all of the Big 4 where margins are tightening and if you aren’t already in the family, your show is unlikely to make it to the air or stay there.

Unlike streamers, who are usually one and done when it comes to pulling the plug on shows, the Black Sunday purge on what they are cancelling and the group hug on what they are renewing is still in the same batch and on the same day. Like a father walking his daughter down the aisle at her wedding, it’s an unnecessary tradition but a captive one with its own conveniences and regrets, as many discovered today.

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