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8 TV Shows That Were Canceled Before an Episode Even Aired



Manchester Prep

Making a TV series requires a lot of time, hard work, and money. It can take months to go from greenlighting an idea to premiering its first episode, going through pre-production, casting, filming, and post-production. However, this collective effort can be thwarted for many reasons, with hundreds of series being canceled after a couple of seasons, if not just a single episode (per Buzzfeed). In most cases, cancellation happens due to poor reception from the audience, or because the series is involved in some kind of controversy that makes it no longer lucrative to continue. In other cases, even though the audience grew fond of certain shows’ characters, series were canceled due to being too expensive. Such was the case of Space Force, the Netflix series led by Steve Carell, which was recently canceled after its second season due to a much greater economic expense than expected. Many of these unexpected cancellations trigger the rage of fans, who go to great lengths trying to stop the series from being canceled, submitting signed petitions to the creators and networks and flooding their social media with messages asking for the series to continue.

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Whenever a TV series is canceled after several seasons, the team that produced it can feel very disappointed. Now, imagine how this sense of frustration becomes even greater when a production is canceled before an episode even airs, throwing away many months of hard work with no chance to finally witness the audience’s response to the show. This has happened with some TV series over the years, and the reasons behind their cancellation have ranged from controversial themes to negative feedback from critics. This article looks back at eight TV series that were canceled before airing and the reasons behind their cancellation.

Fearless seemed to be a project that was destined to succeed, partially due to its producers and also because of its cast, led by Ian Somerhalder, Rachael Leigh Cook, Bianca Lawson, and Eric Balfour. This TV show from The WB was an adaptation of Francine Pascal’s novel series, and it was planned to air on Tuesday nights. It follows the story of an FBI agent genetically incapable of feeling fear. However, after some problems with production and casting that caused several delays, and after filming just the pilot episode, the network decided to pull the plug on the project and instead make way for the hit series One Tree Hill.

Related: Here’s Why Netflix Cancels More TV Shows Than Anyone Else

This NBC sitcom was intended to be a replacement for the hit modern sitcom Friends that was to come out in 2006. The plot revolved around five strangers who, attending a wedding, ended up seated at Table 18, a place that, because of the civil status of the main characters, became known as “the singles table”. From this first meeting, the characters develop friendships that would extend throughout the series, exploring several individual problems and even some romantic connections between them. The Singles Table‘s production was delayed several times following repeated re-castings, and, later, as a result of cost-cutting at the production company, it was completely canceled.

Manchester Prep was intended to serve as a prequel to Cruel Intentions, the 1999 teen movie starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Reese Witherspoon, and Ryan Phillipe. The series was produced by Fox and meant to air at 8 p.m., a time slot that typically features family-friendly productions. Due to the show’s highly sexual nature, the producers faced heavy criticism, so they eventually decided to cancel Manchester Prep on the grounds of “creative differences”. The footage that was already shot, however, did not go to waste, but rather was recycled and turned into the movie Cruel Intentions 2, which unfortunately was poorly reviewed by audiences and critics alike.

The Grubbs was one of the worst0reviewed projects by Fox, and therefore it never came to fruition. This TV show was designed to be the American version of The Grimleys, and featured stars such as Randy Quaid, Carol Kane, and Michael Cera. The Grubbs were a dysfunctional but good-hearted family that would entertain viewers on Fox’s Sunday night comedy block. However, when the pilot was shown to a panel of critics, its reviews were so negative that Fox decided to drop the project just two days before it was scheduled to air.