Tough Year For Cancelled Series: ‘Happy Endings’ No Go At USA, ‘Body Of Proof’ RIP

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As they say, for every cancelled broadcast series, like NBC’s Southland and ABC’s Cougar Town, that finds a second home, there are scores that don’t. Sony TV began exploring a possible future for its cult ABC comedy Happy Endings well in advance of the network’s May decision not to order a fourth season. USA, which is re-entering the half-hour comedy space in a big way this fall with off-network acquisition Modern Family, expressed interest dating back to early April. It entered talks with Sony immediately after ABC made the cancellation decision the Friday before upfronts. But three weeks later, I’ve learned that USA has opted not to proceed with the pickup. I hear the cable network’s brass loved the show creatively but its low ratings on ABC played a factor in the decision as it meant a large investment in marketing and promotion, money USA decided to spend on its home grown half-hour series. The network just made its first half-hour series orders in 15 years, Sirens and Playing House.

While USA was considered the only real play for Happy Endings after ABC, Sony TV is known for never giving up and finding a way to bring shows back from the dead (Unforgettable, Drop Dead Diva, Breaking In, just to name a few.) I hear the studio continues conversations with other possible distributors. With its small but rabid fan base, Happy Endings would be a good candidate for a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon, the latter betting on half-hour comedies in its foray into original series and recently greenlighting its first 2 comedy series.

As for Body Of Proof, despite improving its ratings in the second half of its recent midseason run and getting good marks creatively for its retool, the ABC drama too was cancelled after three seasons. And despite the series boasting an average audience of 11 million viewers this past season and some interest from cable networks, producing studio ABC Studios couldn’t find a new home for the procedural starring Dana Delany. The series showrunner, 24 veteran Evan Katz, is now expected to join Fox’s event series 24: Live Another Day.

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