In a house cleaning that appears to have swept even the house out the door, ABC Thursday canceled “Castle,” “Nashville,” “Agent Carter” and . . .
. . . Take a deep breath . . . “The Muppets,” too.
These four were among the most successful — or at least most highly touted — ABC series in recent years. “The Muppets” alone was considered, at least initially by ABC, a next-generation comedy that was intended to update some of the most iconic (and beloved) figures in pop culture history.
The show was not beloved by the audience, which expected — well, it didn’t know what to expect.
“Castle,” meanwhile, is the big news here. ABC has dropped the ax on one of ABC’s most reliable series. It’s been a network stalwart since 2009, initially based on the sexual tension between leads Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. However, to believe recent tabloid reports, that tension turned into something else off-screen — notably a bitter standoff between both stars. Katic announced recently that she was leaving the show, essentially forcing ABC’s hand. She posted this note via Twitter early Friday.
“Nashville” is another surprise. The network seemed ready to back one more season, by hiring a pair of legendary showrunners — Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz (“thirtysomething.”) Then, Thursday’s news.
ABC did hand out key renewals earlier today: “American Crime,” which ended its second season in March, and was hardly a sure bet (despite some Emmys, the ratings have been low). Also, “The Catch:” Even despite so-so ratings, this still stood a good chance for a second season because it’s a Shondaland production. Shondaland — Shonda Rhimes’ production company, which essentially controls ABC’s Thursday lineup — is the network’s most important supplier.
“Agent Carter,” another Marvel production, lasted two seasons. Its star, Hayley Atwell, will headline a new ABC series next fall, “Conviction.”
Meanwhile, Fox canceled freshman comedies, "The Grinder" and "Grandfathered." Both featured big stars (Rob Lowe, John Stamos, respectively) and the expectations were big too. Those never materialized.