NBC has put the final bullet in “Just Shoot Me.”
After a four-month absence, Steve Levitan-created laffer returned to the Peacock sked Tuesday night with back-to-back episodes that aired opposite Fox’s “American Idol” juggernaut.
Not surprisingly, it tanked: Skein averaged a 1.9/5 for the 8-9 p.m. hour, finishing fifth in the slot. And just as predictably, Peacock programmers immediately pulled the plug on the show, which had been set to air seven more episodes over the next month.
With the May sweeps starting tonight, and 9 p.m. Tuesday laffer “Frasier” losing to ABC’s “According to Jim” for the second consecutive week, NBC execs couldn’t afford to keep “JSM” on the air.
In an interview with Daily Variety, Levitan sounded more frustrated than angry at NBC’s decision — though anger was also clearly evident.
“They threw it back on after four months and barely promoted it; what did they expect?” Levitan said. “The frustrating part is that Jeff (Zucker, prexy of NBC Entertainment) called a meeting with the producers and the cast and promised that he will air these episodes, that he would not pull them. Then they toss us back on and pull us the next day.
“Where has all the dignity and integrity gone in this business?” Levitan asked. “That’s my point.”
Zucker and NBC declined comment.
Levitan said that after six solid seasons, he had hoped NBC would have treated the show better in its seventh year.
“It’s very frustrating when this show has done very well in 9 of its 11 timeslots over the years for them to treat us so badly in the end,” he said. “And when we complain, they get indignant. I don’t understand it.”
Yanking marks the end of a terrible year for “JSM.” In the fall, skein shifted from its Thursday berth to Tuesday nights, where NBC is considerably weaker. Peacock then kept changing its mind whether to air the show at 8 or 8:30 p.m., changing the show’s slot a couple of times.
NBC eventually pulled the show but Zucker vowed to give it another chance before deciding its fate, admitting “JSM” was having a solid year creatively. Zucker kept that promise, though he did the show no favors by slotting it in one of TV’s toughest timeslots.
Peacock plans to fill the 8 p.m. Tuesday slot with a series of specials, including a pair of “Most Outrageous Game Show” clipfests.
Final seven “JSM” episodes will likely air this summer.