You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Peacock rooks on rocks

NBC pulls plug on 'Titans'

NBC has pulled the plug on Aaron Spelling’s struggling sudser “Titans” and is close to doing the same with “The Michael Richards Show.”

Peacock execs informed Spelling Tuesday that the network would not be picking up the back nine on “Titans,” effectively killing the show. Four remaining segs of the Spelling/NBC Studios-produced skein are expected to be burnt off over the next few weeks.

NBC Entertainment prexy Garth Ancier was a vocal supporter of reviving the sudser genre with “Titans,” fighting for the show even when some NBC development execs were hesitant.

Ancier had previously worked with Spelling to revive the family drama genre with “7th Heaven” at the WB, and had hoped to strike gold again with “Titans.”

There’s no word yet on an official replacement, though midseason drama “This Life” (working title) is considered a fave to take over the 8 p.m. slot next month.

Move to kill “Titans” came just one day after the show bowed to lackluster ratings in its new 8 p.m. Monday timeslot. The show scored a 2.8 rating/7 share among adults 18-49, with a total tune-in of 6.6 millions — the same numbers NBC had been averaging earlier this fall with the combo of “Daddio” and the now-canceled “Tucker.”

For the most of the fall, “Titans” aired at 8 p.m. Wednesday, where it averaged a 3.3/9 with adults 18-49 and 8 million viewers — down 13% in the key demo from NBC’s year-ago performance.

The family storyline behind “Titans” probably owed more to Spelling’s “Dynasty” than the producer’s more recent “90210.” Casper Van Dien starred as Chandler Williams, a 26-year-old fighter pilot who returns to his family’s home in Beverly Hills only to find his divorced parents locked in a heated battle.

Yasmine Bleeth played the family patriarch’s young bride, a woman with whom Chandler had previously enjoyed a steamy affair. Victoria Principal and Jack Wagner also starred in the skein, which was produced by Spelling, E. Duke Vincent and Charles Pratt.

“Titans” was a risky project from the start for NBC, considering that traditional over-the-top primetime sudsers like “Dynasty,” “Knot’s Landing” and “Dallas” mostly disappeared after the Reagan administration.

But at their height, nighttime soap operas ruled the TV roost– “Dallas,” for example, was the first- or second-rated show of the season for five consecutive years in the early 1980s.

The Peacock more or less missed the soap derby that decade, though not for lack of trying (“Flamingo Road”). Younger-skewing series like Spelling’s “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Melrose Place” took up the soap legacy in the 1990s.

But with “Melrose” and “90210” gone, NBC sensed a vacuum and hoped to revisit the genre this season.

As for “Richards,” NBC brass won’t make any official decisions on the sitcom until seeing how last night’s seg performed in the ratings. However, unless the skein makes a miraculous Nielsen comeback, the network will cancel “Richards” by week’s end, NBC insiders said.

A big factor in the network’s decision to dump “Richards” now is the show’s unusually high cost. Insiders peg its weekly license fee at nearly $1.2 million, virtually unheard of for a frosh comedy.

“Richards,” the first series to feature a “Seinfeld” alum since the latter skein ended in 1998, was one of the worst-reviewed new shows of the fall. The series had a rocky road to air: NBC threw out the show’s original pilot, brought in several new cast members and then made substantial changes to a revised pilot. Spike Feresten, one of the show’s four creators and exec producers, ankled the skein last month (Daily Variety, Nov. 9.)

In the series, Richards plays a bumbling private eye surrounded by an even more clueless bunch of co-workers. Other cast members include Tim Meadows and William Devane.

“SNL” alum Meadows has an overall deal with NBC and could surface in another Peacock project as soon as next fall.

“Richards” has averaged just a 4.1 rating and 11 share among adults 18 to 49 after five airings Tuesdays at 8 p.m., down 18 percent from the time period (“Just Shoot Me”) last year. The sitcom has been pulling down 9.2 million viewers.

More TV

  • EMPIRE: L-R: Toby Onwumere and Jussie

    Jussie Smollett's 'Empire' Character Ties the Knot as Actor's Future on Show Is Unclear

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the April 24th episode of “Empire.” Jussie Smollett’s character on “Empire” got married in TV’s first-ever black, gay wedding, but the actor’s ongoing assault controversy makes his future on the show uncertain. The episode, entitled “Never Doubt I Love,” was Smollett’s last confirmed appearance in [...]

  • Riverdale -- "Chapter Thirty-Three: Shadow of

    'Riverdale' Airs Luke Perry's Final Scene

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear The Reaper,” the April 24 episode of “Riverdale.” “Riverdale” has aired late actor Luke Perry’s final scene as Andrews patriarch Fred. In “Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear the Reaper,” the 19th episode of the third season of “Riverdale,” Archie (KJ Apa) was worried about [...]

  • "We Turn Up This Music Louder

    TV Review: 'The Red Line'

    For all that broadcast TV’s power has attenuated in recent years, what they choose to put on still means something — and, from a certain point of view, something more than the choices made by prestige outlets. After all, the reach of broadcasters is without parallel. They’re simply in that many more homes than prestige [...]

  • Grey's Anatomy Season 15

    Broadcast Bubble Shows 2019: What's Coming Back, What’s Not

    While many broadcast shows have already been picked up for next season, plenty of favorites are still waiting to learn their fates. Given that the broadcasters are currently evaluating this year’s crop of comedy and drama pilots, some current shows will unfortunately have to shuffle off to that great network in the sky, where they [...]

  • Elizabeth Olsen Wanda Vision

    Elizabeth Olsen Says Disney+ Series 'WandaVision' Is Set in 1950s

    “Avengers: Endgame” star Elizabeth Olsen tells Variety that “WandaVision,” the forthcoming Disney+ series about her superhero character, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, will be set in the 1950s. “There’s quite a few other comic books that we’re pulling from and it’s going to be Wanda and the Vision, and I think at the Disney+ launch chat, they [...]


    CBS Chiefs: Former Exec's Claim Network 'Has a White Problem' Is 'Disheartening,' 'Painful'

    Susan Zirinsky, president of CBS News, and Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment, sent emails to staff Tuesday expressing concern over claims made in an essay published in Variety in which CBS veteran Whitney Davis detailed racist discrimination and sexual harassment she witnessed and was subjected to at the network. In response, Zirinsky said Davis’ [...]

  • BBC Studios Making Prince Charles Series

    BBC Studios Making Prince Charles Series for ITV

    ITV has greenlit a BBC Studios-produced series about Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne. “Inside the Duchy” (working title) will follow the Prince of Wales over two one-hour episodes to mark his 50th year as the holder of the title of Duke of Cornwall. The producers said the series will give an unprecedented [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content