In a triad of surprise cancellations in advance of next week's "upfronts" and schedule announcements, ABC has axed some well-regarded newcomers -- "Resurrection," "Forever," and "Cristela" -- according to reports in Deadline and Hollywood Reporter. Both "Forever" and "Resurrection" were freshman, "Resurrection" a sophomore.
The rest of the network's newcomers -- including "Agent Carter" (which was also good but considered something of a long shot for renewal) and "American Crime," which should have a decent shot at the Emmys -- were renewed.
What happened with "Resurrection" and "Forever"? Numbers! Zap2it's TVbythenumbers.com -- which tracks ratings and the fate of so-called "bubble shows," or those whose fates can go either way -- had "Resurrection" as a clear bubble, leaning to cancellation, but ... it also had the same status for "Crime" and "Carter."
ABC's wholesale renewal of the rest of the new shows from last season otherwise indicates at least a couple of things -- the network clearly was happy with most of these performances, but the network, like its rivals, has also attempted to boost ownership stakes (or outright ownership) in the series on its air. "Resurrection," starring Omar Epps (and a show that had a very promising launch in March 2014) and "Forever" -- set in New York and starring Ioan Gruffudd -- were not owned by ABC. That weighed against them.
But "Cristela's" end is the big surprise to me. With one of broadcast TV's most diverse casts, this was the rarest of the even rarer: An all-Latino cast, or mostly Latino. Star Cristela Alonzo was one of the big hits at last summer's TCA: All charisma and charm, she brought a torpid room alive and seemed to do so with the first few episodes. "Cristela" was old-fashioned but also good-hearted and just seemed like a good Friday night fit.
But lots of reasons go into these cancellations -- numbers, as mentioned, is just one -- and "Cristela" was again, not owned by ABC.
ABC will announce the fall schedule next Tuesday.