The satirical comedy, which was created by Shalom Auslander and followed a middle-aged ad exec and his family, was dealt a major casting blow early on when original lead Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a drug overdose after the pilot was shot.
Still, “Happyish” was eventually heavily praised by Showtime president David Nevins. He told the Television Critics Association last winter that he was “dying to unleash it on the world” and that he’d hoped it would represent a new brand of comedy for his premium cabler.
“I’ve read all the scripts, and it’s got a lot of heart and a lot of emotion and big funny,” Nevins said then. “So to me, it feels like a potential next way to do a cable comedy that’s absorbing, but it’s not too cool. It’s got real emotion to it and real sort of pathos. But it’s been frustrating that I haven’t launched more comedies, and it’s been an area of focus. This show in particular has been an area of focus.”
In the end, the “Happyish” ratings could not meet its hype. The dramedy drew low Nielsens when it premiered in April. Its June 28 finale attracted just 261,000 in same-night viewing and 348,000 in “live plus-3.”