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'Smash,' 'Rock Center' cancelled

Katharine McPhee portrays Karen Cartwright in the series

Katharine McPhee portrays Karen Cartwright in the series “Smash, which starting April 6, will move from Tuesdays to Saturdays on NBC. (Credit: AP)

For NBC it was the afternoon of broken dreams and busted promise - more specifically, the end of some of the most touted if not viewed series of the last couple of seasons: "Smash," "Rock Center with Brian Williams" and "The New Normal" were cancelled.

In addition, ABC ended "Happy Endings," and "Southland" - which had its roots at NBC back before the network cut bait on it for "The Jay Leno Show" - was also cut by TNT.

  Also: ABC will not be returning Dana Delany's "Body of Proof," while newcomers "Red Widow" and "Malibu Country" also failed to make the cut.

  But hey! We've got good news too: "Community" landed a fifth season.

 NBC will announce its fall schedule Monday. 

 The endings for "Smash," "Rock" and "Normal" were especially bitter because each represented either a departure - "Normal," as a Ryan Murphy comedy about a gay couple with the highly regarded stage actor Andrew Rannells in the lead, for example - or a reaffirmation of the medium's ability to strike out in new directions or reestabish forms as old as network TV itself.

 "Rock Center" was the personal initiative of NBC's new boss, Steve Burke, who wanted the network news division to create a magazine that would draw prestige back to a format that has largely become invested in true crime - with the exception of "60 Minutes."  The show succeeded, except viewers didn't notice.

 "Smash" was the pet project of new Entertainment president Robert Greenblatt, who envisioned elements of a Broadway musical in primetime - plus original songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman - , now largely devoted to crime dramas.

  Despite promise in the first season, the show's storytelling deteriorated and ended up drawing a small crowd of spitball-throwers known as "hate viewers," who traded social media barbs over the show's storylines... A new producer couldn't turn matters around and "Smash" was sent to Saturday earlier this season where its end was foretold.  

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