Comedian upset after network cancels his show
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UPFRONT DOWN AND DIRTY PT. 2: ABC unveiled its tentative fall lineup at the New York upfronts yesterday, and while there’s nothing earth-shattering in the news, let’s start with the bad news — if you’re a big fan of George Lopez.
ABC has pulled the plug on a few shows, including Knights Of Prosperity, the show that might have stood a better chance if they’d been able to stick with the original title — Let’s Rob Mick Jagger — and followed it up by changing the name every season to fit their new mark, which was rumoured to be Ray Romano for the sophomore season of the show right up until last week.
ABC has played its cards close to its chest when it comes to cancelling shows, obviously, and George Lopez didn’t know that he was off the air until the weekend. On Monday, the comedian complained to the Los Angeles Times that, now that ABC has dropped him after four years and frequent schedule shifts, “TV just became really, really white again.”
Lopez said that ABC president of prime-time entertainment Steve McPherson told him on the weekend that it wasn’t worth the network’s economic while to renew the show, which isn’t produced by ABC but by Warner Bros. Television. “I get kicked out for a ... caveman and shows that I out-performed because I’m not owned by (ABC Television Studios) ... So a ... Chicano can’t be on TV but a ... caveman can?” Lopez told the Times. “And a Chicano with an audience already? You know when you get in this that shows do not last forever, but this was an important show and to go unceremoniously like this hurts. One-hundred-seventy people lost their jobs.”
The caveman Lopez is referring to is the new sitcom being developed from the hit Geico advertising campaign, which has been rumoured to have tested poorly, though ABC is still backing it to the hilt, at least at the moment. McPherson talked up Cavemen, which has a tentative Tuesday night slot, to TV Week’s James Hibberd as a show that looks “at racial relationships and minorities … you can offend everyone and no one at the same time.” I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like unqualified enthusiasm to me — George Lopez has every reason to be pissed.
News of the death of According To Jim were greatly exaggerated, however. On Monday, the show was a goner, but as of yesterday’s press conference, McPherson said the critically ignored but long-running sitcom that usually sat adjacent to Lopez’ show wasn’t on the schedule for the fall, but that the network was still talking with the producers. “We don’t know yet. We are talking to the studio to see if there’s something financially, a deal that would make sense for us.” Which basically means that if According To Jim is back on the air next season, Jim Belushi will probably be changing costumes in the crew’s Porta Potty.