'Cougar Town' Finished?

Posted on April 3, 2012 

Things aren't looking good for "Cougar Town," which was yanked off tonight's schedule in favor of a "Dancing With The Stars" highlight clip from Monday.

When I checked TVGuide.com last night before bed, it had a new episode of "Cougar Town" listed for tonight. But lo and behold, when I checked this morning, it had been replaced by the "Dancing With The Stars" rerun.

Shows suddenly getting yanked from the schedule is not a good sign for their future, particularly when they have been suffering from anemic ratings. ABC hasn't done much of a job promoting this show -- one of TV's best sitcoms -- since it returned over the winter. The doubts about the show's future haven't helped draw viewers, to be sure, since most viewers don't want to commit to a show that may or may not be on the air next week.

While I have no doubt ABC will, at some point, burn off the remaining "Cougar Town" episodes this season, I have serious doubts that the show will return next year. That's a shame, because it's hard to think of a showrunner who has worked harder than "Cougar Town" creator Bill Lawrence in trying to drum up support for his series.

Lawrence is no stranger to having one of his top quality comedies yanked around. While he enjoyed a good and stable run with "Spin City," his "Scrubs" was treated like a yo-yo, yanked back and forth and all around the NBC schedule when it ran on that network. Ironically, when he wanted to end the series, ABC -- which had picked up the show by then -- picked it up for another year, which was pretty awful TV.

On the other hand, it's hard to completely lay all the blame at ABC's feet, in that the network has a very stable lineup of comedies on Wednesday, and isn't going to mess that up. "Happy Endings," which took the place of "Cougar Town" in the coveted spot that follows "Modern Family," has done well, hitting its stride creatively and with solid ratings. That series ends this week, and will be replaced by "Don't Touch The B-- In 23," which the network has high hopes for (and it should -- I've seen the first two episodes, and it's very funny).

The network had hoped to establish Tuesdays as a second night of comedy, and while Tim Allen's "Last Man Standing" will be back next year, "Cougar Town" has haed a tough time finding its audience. (It doesn't help that both shows go against "NCIS," the top-rated show on TV.)

I hope I'm wrong, but right now, I'm just savoring the "Cougar Town" episodes that are left -- when ABC decides to air them.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: Kentucky proved itself the best team in college basketball last night, and "Justified" (FX, 10 p.m.), which is set in that state, is proving itself to be the best show on TV this season. I didn't think the producers could top last season, but they have. Now, I don't think they can possibly top this season, so I can only imagine what Season 4 will bring next year with tonight's penultimate episode.

Following two hours of "Dancing," ABC has the second part of a two-part "Body of Proof" at 10 p.m.

Fox yanked "I Hate My Teenage Daughter," airing a rerun of "Raising Hope" at 8:30 p.m. But the first half hour of "Raising Hope" is new, as is "New Girl" and "Breaking In" from 9-10 p.m.

A new "Ringer" follows a rerun of "90210" on the CW at 9 p.m., and NBC is all-reality with "The Biggest Loser," "The Voice" and "Fashion Star." CBS is all reruns tonight.

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