In a not-too-surprising move given its lackluster performance, NBC has sent the vainglorious Titans packing, with the network announcing it isn't ordering more episodes of Aaron Spelling's shamelessly cheesy soap opera starring Yasmine Bleeth and Casper Van Dien.
Network execs reportedly informed Spelling Tuesday that they wouldn't be picking up Titans for a full season. The remaining four episodes are expected to air in the coming weeks.
What probably surprised viewers more than its cancellation was how long Titans actually managed to stay around. NBC tried moving the series from Wednesday to Monday nights, and this week it averaged 6.6 million viewers for a 2.8 rating and 7 share among adults 18-49. That's virtually unchanged from the numbers NBC saw for Titans' 8 p.m. sitcom predecessors, Tucker and Daddio.
Mondays have been a bottomless pit of despair for the network's new shows. It's already littered with the remains of Tucker and Daddio in the 8 p.m. slot, while the newspaper drama Deadline got yanked from the presses after a short run in the 9 p.m. slot.
But unlike Deadline, execs have stood by Titans, insisting soap operas need more time to develop a growing audience. The series, so bad it was almost good (almost), starred Van Dien as a fighter pilot who returns home to Beverly Hills to find his divorced parents battling it out. Backstabbing ensued.
Victoria Principal and Jack Wagner costarred in the series, and though Spelling's recent successes had been more youth-friendly fare like Beverly Hills 90210, Titans harkened back to that, uh, "golden era" of nighttime soaps like Dynasty and Dallas.
NBC shifted the show to Mondays after a disappointing run on Wednesdays. There, the series averaged 8 million viewers for a 3.3 rating and 9 share among adults 18-49--down about 13 percent from the network's performance last year.
According to trade reports, NBC also is getting equally antsy about another high-profile dud, The Michael Richards Show. And after a dismal showing Tuesday night, the comedy, starring Richards in a Kramer-like role as a bumbling private eye, may be kaput by the end of the week.
Since its inception, the Seinfeld alum's series has been slammed by critics and, after a promising premiere-night, virtually ignored by viewers. The show, costarring Tim Meadows and William Devane, underwent a major creative overhaul before premiering, but it still averaged just 9.2 million viewers and a 4.1 rating and 11 share among adults 18-49, after five airings in its Tuesday 8 p.m. slot. Those numbers are down 18 percent from the time slot last year, which was occupied by Just Shoot Me.
Tuesday night's numbers may be the last straw, after tough competition dropped Richards to a preliminary 5.6 rating and 9 share in households, and a 2.9 rating and 8 share among adults 18-49, the lowest numbers yet in that demographic.