Sad Day For Gay TV: “Happy Endings,” “Smash” And “The New Normal” Canceled

The New NormalA lot of gay folks and their friends are out of jobs today and there will be much less gay representation on TV this fall.  ABC has announced that Happy Endings has been canceled and NBC has given the ax to both the comedy The New Normal and its musical drama Smash. All three series had struggled for ratings.

Loosely based on co-creator Ryan Murphy’s relationship with husband David Miller, The New Normal followed a loving gay couple (Justin Bartha, Andrew Rannells) and their struggle to have a child through a surrogate. The sitcom had drawn the ire of conservative groups for both its depiction of a modern family and for tackling such hot-button issues as gays in the Boy Scouts. It marks the first series from Murphy, whose resume includes Glee, American Horror Story and Nip/Tuck, to not survive past a first season.  As The Hollywood Reporter notes, that while the “April season finale was penned to serve as a potential series finale, producers said that a second season would have featured the newly married couple raising their newborn son.”

Smash, another NBC casualty, premiered in early 2012 to almost unprecedented expectations. The behind-the-scenes look at the staging of a Broadway musical had quite a pedigree with producers Steven Spielberg, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the songwriting team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, as well as an award-winning cast that featured Debra Messing, Angelica Huston, Jennifer Hudson and Christian Borle. The writing of the series quickly became a target for critics and the term “hate-watching” was coined for viewers who continued to tune in each week.

ustv-adam-pally-happy-endings-stillABC’s ensemble comedy Happy Endings, however, had been a critical favorite. It had developed a small but passionate cult following and was loved by queer viewers  primarily for straight actor Adam Pally’s stereotype-shattering gay character Max (right). ABC had moved the series around on its schedule numerous times in hopes of attracting more viewers but without much success. There’s been discussion of a cable network, possibly USA, picking up the half-hour series for a fourth season.

Also getting the boot is Reba McEntire’s sitcom Malibu Country, which co-starred out performers Lily Tomlin and Jai Rodriguez. ABC canceled the series after one season.

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  • startenout

    While none of these come as a surprise, I for one will miss The New Normal and Smash.

  • Dywane

    yeah i’m gonna miss smash it was a cool show

  • Fidelio

    Here’s an idea: produce a show worth watching. These shows sucked balls – and not in a good way. New Normal had potential, but I think the writers got a lobotomy after the pilot.

  • deltabadhand

    My problem with “The New Normal” was that none ofbthe characters was all that likable. And this is prolly just me, but had the premise started with two guys rasing the baby and not had so much focus. On the surrogate character, I think it woukd have played out better.

  • TinoTurner

    Not surprised about the New Normal. You get Ellen Barkin who is always fun to watch and you cast those two incredibly boring, non-compelling gay guys in the lead roles. Something about them was repellent….the should have done better casting with those two.

  • hyhybt

    I’m just glad The New Normal was, first, written to end the series at a good stopping point, and second, allowed to finish the season. As is, it makes a good and complete story.

  • tchuy03

    The New Normal was boring and the acting was exaggerated. The story lines just did not deliver, after every episode I felt that there was was something missing. I am not surprised and felt towards the middle that this would end.

  • oilburner

    I only watched the new normal to see Nene leakes

  • fredo777

    so pissed about Happy Endings + Smash.

  • fredo777

    @Fidelio: “These shows sucked balls”

    Horse shit. Happy Endings was quirky, smart, + funny.

  • Fidelio

    @fredo777: it didn’t belong on network tv. maybe it’s why it’s now being considered for cable. it’s post-college grad hipsters with 1st world problems.

  • Jerry12

    I watched the New Normal for a few episodes, but could not relate the Show’s dialog to the language the thirty, to forty, Gay couples with whom I associate. Real Gay people just do not talk that way. Were the Show’s writers Gay? I suspect not.

  • DickGreenleaf

    NBC continues it programing harakiri. First was the Tonight Show hosting debacle. Then came their screw up in firing Ann Curry. Now they ax New Normal and keep Community??? Somebody is swallowing the bong water.

  • balehead

    All these shows did was show how boring gay really is….Being gay is not a talent…

  • hyhybt

    @DickGreenleaf: …and of course they’re doing the Tonight Show mess all over again. CBS, meanwhile, seems to believe in “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    Of course, that couldn’t be applied to NBC’s primetime schedule anyway.

  • hyhybt

    @balehead: progress, too, can be boring. That gay TV characters are so often boring, or at least interesting for reasons other than their orientation, is surely a good thing overall.

  • fredo777

    @Fidelio: @Fidelio: “it didn’t belong on network tv.”

    it would’ve been fine on network tv if less people sucked at knowing good tv when they watch it.

  • viveutvivas

    I tried watching The New Normal. I really tried. But it was unwatchable.

  • Dionte

    This is a sad day. Let me mark it on my calendar.

  • Polaro

    New Normal rocked. I loved it. It had a few mediocre episodes, but deserved another season. Smash was also good, but was not firing on all cylinders. Should have also gotten another season to get it right. Happy Endings was OK, but it was not a gay or gayish show even. The gay guy sucked at being interesting. All in all, the networks suck.

  • Fidelio

    @fredo777: calm down, cowboy. don’t get your panties in a bundle. we’re talking about shows sucking, not people. so keep it civil.

  • fredo777

    @Fidelio: I’m as calm as I’m going to get. We’re talking about shows failing in ratings because people suck.

  • Lane103

    The new normal was so forced…one guy is stereotypically straight acting the other is a flaming superficial queen. Storyline’s were boring and so not engaging. Happy Endings was just stupid…the constant attempt to try to be hip and yet so not….Smash to me at least had talented singers, however, the story lines were weak. Angelica Houston is a good actress, but not believable in the role…I like Debra Messing, but felt her character was all over the place…Smash should of been on HBO or Showtime for more adult dialogue and story lines

  • Joetx

    I loved both “The New Normal” & “Happy Endings.” They both deserved more seasons. Instead, we’re left w/ a bunch of “reality” TV crap.

  • sfbeast

    Smash started out great and steadily got worse and worse. I wanted more about the show and the musical numbers and instead we got dreadful interrelationships and unpleasant extramarital affairs. The creepy East Village play guys were revolting. And their songs went downhill fast. Couldn’t wait for that whole mess to be cancelled.

  • jamesbarnette

    Sad day? What was sad about it is The New Normal was painful to watch. Yes, let’s watch another extreme queen on network TV give the American public more stereotypes to deal with. I only caught the last two episodes or so of Smash and it was so a mess and completely horrible.

    Unfortunately I only saw the first few episodes of Happy Endings and, at first, I was laughing out loud but the episodes were so uneven in their humor.

  • Fidelio

    @fredo777: I didn’t like Happy Endings, New Normal, or Smash, but I don’t say people who do like those show suck.

  • fredo777

    @Fidelio: Fortunately, every one in the world addresses people/things in the same way. : ]


    “Couldn’t wait for that whole mess to be cancelled.”

    lol What? Why not just not watch a show instead of hoping it gets cancelled if others enjoy it? It’s not like they forced you to watch.

  • Brian

    Just because a show has gay characters in it, it does not automatically mean that it is going to be good.

    The New Normal lacked the x factor. In fact, a lot of shows lack the x factor.

    In any case, producer Ryan Murphy tends to be a stereotype pusher. One less stereotype on TV can only be good for us.

  • kennetho9322

    Ahh… “Adam Pally’s stereotype-shattering gay character.” You’re kidding! Right? Here’s a straight guy playing a ‘straight-like’ gay guy that fit into the networks’ agenda. It WON’T be missed! Trust me… no Theme Park is making a ride out of that show!

  • fredo777

    @kennetho9322: A bit of a silly gripe, really. If he wasn’t playing the character less than femme + stereotype-y, you’d complain that it was yet another flaming character on tv. Give me a break. Pally was great as Max.

  • Shadeaux

    @oilburner: Me too, but I did start loving the show after a while. I hate it was canceled. I would have loved to see where the storyline would have gone with the baby.

  • the other Greg

    Never even heard of Smash, sorry, and when I read about The New Normal I thought, not my cuppa tea.

    But I was just starting to get into Happy Endings. Max is interesting, not the usual TV gay guy.

  • Kieru

    I enjoy SMASH; but it’s not worth saving. Every single character suffers from the same flaw; self-sabotage. Every episode is the same. A character either buries the hatchet with another or gets some opportunity (or both), only to screw it up by making an obviously terrible life-choice.

    The New Normal is another show I enjoyed in the beginning, but then it became a soapbox for Ryan Murphy to not intelligent discuss gay rights, but to just cram them down your throat in the most obnoxious manner possible. The New Normal at this point might as well be a set of HR educational films; that’s about as clever as the writing is.

    As for Happy Endings… that one makes me sad. It wasn’t ALWAYS fantastic, but it was a pretty great show.

  • Cam

    At least the couple in New Normal liked each other. Unlike those neutered clowns on Modern Family. Never saw Smash, but really liked Normal and Happy Endings.

  • erasure25

    So sad.. Loved Happy Endings and Smash. The New Normal was ok too.

  • viveutvivas

    @Lane, re. “stereotypically straight-acting”. Not sure about that, I only saw one stereotypically overprimped prissy “look at my hair” type and one flamer.

  • Niall

    Happy Endings tried to hard to market the gay character as the most unstereotypical gay character in all of TV-dom, it actually got annoying. Give me a stereotypical flamer anyday than some try hard “oh I’m so the opposite of gay you’ll ever meet” character. YAWN

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