What’s the State of Affairs, you ask? In a word: awful. The Katherine Heigl-led political drama, touted as the actress’ big return to the small screen, has been unceremoniously dumped after one season, and it’s not the only one. DC Comics’ Constantine, rom-com Marry Me and Ellen DeGeneres-produced One Big Happy have all been canceled, while sophomore entry About a Boy will also not be returning. There’s better news for Debra Messing vehicle The Mysteries of Laura and relationship comedy Undateable though, which have been saved, the latter for an all-live third season.
NBC had a monstrously bad fall season, with rookies falling flat left and right. State of Affairs was one of the more high-profile flops, given how aggressively the network promoted it. After a debut with 8.6 million viewers, it tailed off drastically, ending with 4.5 million viewers, and the series never caught on in the big way that execs had been hoping (this was NBC’s Scandal). The network is banking on its drama pilots having better luck in the fall.
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Constantine was a modest performer, which was surprising given its DC Comics packaging and warm reception from fans of the source material, Hellblazer. Warner Bros. is expected to shop the Matt Ryan-led series elsewhere in hopes of finding it a home better-suited to the snarky, scary tone, but NBC was never the right fit for it. It didn’t promote the series much, and especially after its disappointing bow, the network was content to burn off the rest of the 13-episode season and move on.
After Happy Endings was canceled by ABC, the Peacock Network swooped in on star Casey Wilson’s romantic comedy, which showrunner David Caspe partially based on his marriage to the actress. Marry Me was warmly received by critics, who praised the writing and sweet tenor, but it didn’t make much of a splash in the ratings, especially later in its first season, after NBC placed some faith in it by upping the episode count to 18 in hopes of seeing ratings increases.
The less said about One Big Happy, a huge misfire for NBC, the better. The lesbian-themed comedy, which drew harsh reviews and low ratings, saw its viewer base cut in half by the conclusion of its six-episode season. Execs still want LGBT representation, but this was not the show to do it.
NBC had a pretty terrible 2013-14 season as well, with About a Boy becoming one of two comedies from that fall to earn a season 2 pickup (the other was Parks and Recreation, for its final run). The warm comedy would have fared poorly with the rebranding that execs are doing for next season, and it never drew particularly exciting numbers despite solid reviews, so ending it after the second season makes an unfortunate amount of sense.