ABC’s entertainment chief Paul Lee was asked the Why? question during a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning: Why did the network dump Happy Endings? One reporter challenged the idea that the comedy wasn’t “on brand” for ABC, noting that two of the network’s newly greenlit comedies for next season, Super Fun Night and Mixology, feel like they’d be perfect companions for Happy Endings.
“I do think Happy Endings is absolutely on brand,” Lee said after the network unveiled its new fall schedule Tuesday. “What we found was it was just too narrow. It was a very hard decisions because, as you know, I love that show and I found it very hard to make that decision. On the same token, I think Super Fun Night and Mixology are broader shows that will bring in a wider audience. So: Hard decision, not happy at all to see it go, but we feel it was on brand and so is [Super Fun Night] and Mixology.”
“Too narrow” is, of course, network-speak for “low ratings.”
ABC declined to pick up the comedy for a fourth season before its upfront presentation to advertisers this week (along with some other under-performing comedies like Family Tools and Malibu Country). Happy Endings averaged 4.6 million viewers and a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49 this season, though it dropped below a mere 1.0 rating in the overnights after the network moved the show to Friday nights. The show is currently being shopped to USA Network, so there’s still a possibility that it could live on.
Lee also addressed the canceling of Body of Proof, which is being shopped to cable. “We had a very strong season in terms of [new series] development,” Lee said. “I would love to see Body of Proof find a good home for itself.”