Doubling up spells doom for 'Happy Endings'

Yahoo Contributor Network

It would seem that fans of "Happy Endings" have reason to be happy, with ABC doubling down on episodes starting Jan. 29. But all is not well with the Chicago gang, as the double dose may suggest a plan for cancellation down the road. With its neighbor in "Apt. 23" officially evicted from Tuesday nights, the stage is set for a re-branding of the network's lineup.

ABC is putting its weight behind Casey Wilson and the wacky gang of "Happy Endings," but the plan is ultimately temporary. Given that the show has a slew of episodes already shot as the schedules start to shift, the extra airings may be the writing on the wall that signals the potential end of the series.

ABC announced last month that the results show for this season's "Dancing With the Stars" will be an hour-long broadcast, starting March 26. The cancellation of "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23" left space for the traditionally 30-minute reality show broadcast, but not enough time for the lengthy plan now intended.

The potentially impending doom for "Happy Endings" is only reinforced by the network's current plan of doubling up on episodes. Airing at its normal rate from now through March would leave about six unaired episodes out to dry at the start of the new "DWTS" season, if the comedy was not moved to another time slot. Choosing to air back-to-back episodes of the fan favorite will surely satisfy for now, but leaves a cold, hard path ahead.

Many could argue that this is a better fate than that of "Apartment 23," which was yanked from the schedule due to low ratings with eight episodes shot and unaired. But in a summer slump or when a new series underperforms, the network can fill the space with leftover episodes and give the "B" another chance to prove itself. With all episodes of "Happy Endings" aired at the time of the schedule shift, the show's chances of a resurrection are slim to none.

Stars of the show seem to see the writing on the wall. Adam Pally, who plays Max, tweeted last month, "ABC will be taking us off the schedule Mid March, airing us consecutively till then. After that?"

With less than impressive ratings in its third season, it seems the unexpected hit has already reached its peak and is starting a slow burn toward cancellation. There is no doubt that "Dancing With the Stars" is a ratings juggernaut for ABC, with a strong viewership in both competition and results broadcasts that trounce on scripted series and cost a lot less to do so. It is no surprise that the network would favor "DWTS" in this scenario, even when deciding the fate of a show with a cultish following.

Fans have a moment now to gorge on episodes and antics with Elisha Cuthbert, Damon Wayans, Jr., and the Chicago-based comedic gang. It is not often that a slumping show gets a chance to fulfill its series order, so there is some reason for fans to celebrate this rare moment. Whether this makes you happy or not, it sure looks like disappointment looms as the end is in sight for "Happy Endings."

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