The cancellation swings hard, swift, and with very little care for your past accomplishments. Such is the case today when NBC announced it was cancelling two of its sophomore comedies, “Kenan” and “Mr. Mayor.” The news comes alongside the cancellation of poorly reviewed freshman drama series, “The Endgame.” But the surprising part of all this comes from how quickly both comedy shows went from being highly viewed, to the least watched shows on broadcast television.
The Ted Danson-led comedy “Mr. Mayor” was the second-highest rated comedy on NBC during its freshman year. It also had the pedigree behind it of being co-create by and executively produced by Tina Fey. She also wrote several of the episodes, along with co-creator Robert Carlock. Come the second season though, the series found itself tied for the fourth-lowest watched broadcasted program alongside fellow NBC sitcom, “Kenan.”
“Kenan” features Kenan Thompson in his first starring sitcom role since “Kenan & Kel” on Nickelodeon. Thompson has been the longest serving cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” and could arguably be the one to take up the nick-name of ‘The Glue’ once attributed to the late great Phil Hartman. Just as Hartman held the show together during his tenure there, Thompson has done the same. Even though the ratings for “Kenan” weren’t as strong as “Young Rock” (picked up for a 3rd season) or “Mr. Mayor,” the program still netted Thompson an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series.
One year later and the bottom has dropped out for both programs. What happened? Hard to say. Broadcast television has been hit hard by the continuing amount of programming being offered by streaming services. Who’s to say the fate of both shows wouldn’t have been different if they were airing on Peacock instead of NBC. Danson, Fey, and Thompson are three fairly substantial names to have projects go bust so quickly.
As the television landscape continues to change, maybe sitcoms themselves are a thing of the past? Either way at least Thompson has SNL to fall back on. As for Danson, maybe now’s a good time to push for a “Cheers” revival. (After all, we’re getting a “Fraiser” revival.)