Spring is a time of hope in the network TV business. The upfronts are held, schedules are changed, spiffy new show trailers are unleashed for the world to be impressed by, and optimism is everywhere. (In that way, it's much like the NFL Draft.) But spring also brings with it the end of the network TV season, along with the official tally of the shows that didn't survive it.
At this time each spring, Fienberg and I like to temper the enthusiasm about the upcoming fall shows by reminding you of how many first-year shows – shows like “Selfie” and “Stalker” that their respective networks seemed very excited about a year ago at this time – failed, and in some cases, failed hard.
So welcome to our favorite spring game, where we line up all the first-year network TV shows, try to figure out how they might be best remembered, and make the appropriate funeral plans. And a year from now, we'll be doing the same thing (“Heartbreaker” seems an obvious candidate to Dan), because failure is baked into the network TV business model, even if there were about 10 fewer cancellations than last year, as the threshold for survivable ratings keeps getting lower and lower.