ABC has cancelled the controversial cross-dressing comedy Work It after two episodes.
The Tuesday night comedy debuted to a 2.0 rating in the adult demo last week, then dropped 20 percent this week to a 1.6 — down 27 percent from its lead in, Last Man Standing.
In its place, ABC will begin airing repeats of Last Man Standing this Tuesday. (To prepare for the possibility of a Work It elimination, ABC also just ordered two more episodes of the Tim Allen comedy). But it seems likely that Cougar Town — which has yet to receive a midseason berth — will take its place, eventually.
Out of the gate, Work It was dismissed by both critics (who criticized its brand of comedy) and the gay community (for the message it supposedly communicated). The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Human Rights Campaign took to out an ad in a Hollywood trade to show how the sitcom that starred Amaury Nolasco (Prison Break) and Benjamin Koldyke (How I Met Your Mother) have a negative impact on the transgender community. Using photos of transgender Americans, an ad in Variety features statistics from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force on discrimination to demonstrate how the comedy could be misinterpreted by viewers.
ABC Entertainment Chief Paul Lee told reporters last week that he didn’t understand the response from the advocacy groups. He has said in the past that, as a Brit, he appreciates the cheeky humor that comes with cross-dressing comedies like the Dustin Hoffman movie Tootsie.
GLAAD’s senior director of programs Herndon Graddick released this statement today: “While many of ABC’s positive and groundbreaking portrayals of LGBT people have been critical and popular successes, the public had little interest in this outdated show. As a result of this campaign, an important dialogue has been started in Hollywood and mainstream media about the real discrimination faced by transgender people today.”