NBC wasn’t mad about The Paul Reiser Show and canceled it after just two episodes. The Paul Reiser Show starred, of course, Paul Reiser as a fictionalized version of himself dealing with the aftermath of sitcom success. The show also featured Andrew Daly, Ben Shenkman, Omid Djalili, and Amy Landecker. I think they made a mistake in canceling it, and here’s why.
First, the put the show on right after Community, which does not have much of a lead-in audience. Community is probably the best comedy on TV, but viewers have yet to catch on. On top of the weak lead-in, TPRS was replacing the horrible Perfect Couples. People were used to not tuning in after Community our of fear of having all their humor sucked out of them by that poisonous show NBC dared to call a comedy.
Second, because it only had two episodes, it didn’t get the chance to find it’s legs. People weren’t sure what to expect after the first episode. It was somewhat like a more tame Curb Your Enthusiasm. I think, given the chance, people would have started to tune in more and more. While not consistently laugh out loud funny, it did have some great moments, especially when dealing with other real celebrities (like Henry Rollins).
Third, the second episode aired the Thursday before Easter. Ratings for pretty much every show were down this week because of the holiday. How can you expect a brand-new show to gain viewership when every other show was losing viewership due to a holiday? Those are some pretty high expectations from NBC.
The cancelation of TPRS by NBC is the exact reason I try not to watch new shows on NBC. NBC is trigger-happy with cancelations, much more so than any other network. It makes it hard to get invested in a show on NBC, and I personally think that is one of the reasons new show ratings are so low. It seems like a lot of people wait to see if a show is on solid ground before they decide to invest their time in it.