'Free Agents' canceled by NBC


Image Credit: NBC

Yup, it happened: NBC has canceled freshman comedy Free Agents.

The Hank Azaria comedy dropped sharply after its premiere four weeks ago and settled at a 3.3 million viewers and a 1.0 adults 18-49 rating. Repeats of new comedy Whitney will replace the show.

Before the season started, Azaria told EW he expected the show to go for at least 13 episodes, saying new NBC entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt would give the show awhile to find its audience:

“I’m pretty sure we’ll do 13 of these at least,” Azaria said. “Although you really never do know. I mean, the two network shows I’ve had in the past have been yanked after airing two or four [episodes] or something. So there’s always that Sword of Damocles over your head. One of the reasons I came to do this show on NBC was Bob Greenblatt, who was at Showtime when I did Huff, and I really have a lot of faith in him and liked very much working for him. I think he’s pretty committed to letting this show breathe and find an audience if it needs to and get its sea legs before he does anything drastic. You know, famous last words. But what I have learned after 25 years of doing this is you can only really control two things: How much you enjoy what you’re doing and the quality of the shows you put out. And everything beyond that, you might as well not worry about it [laughs] because you really can’t affect it.”

This marks the second new fall show to get the network ax. (The first was NBC’s own Playboy Club.) Earlier this week, NBC also picked up comedies Whitney and Up All Night. Still awaiting a verdict: New Thursday night drama Prime Suspect, which, like Whitney and Free Agents, the network decided to double-down on by putting its repeats in Playboy‘s Monday night slot. Plus, NBC still has Grimm coming up on Friday nights. — With additional reporting by Mandi Bierly

UPDATED: Death Watch 2011: Fall TV survival status report
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Read more:
‘Free Agents’ premiere review: Managing to make sex not sexy nor funny


Comments (125 total) Add your comment
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  • hmmm

    No big surprise. NBC should put Whitney in that spot when 30 Rock returns, put Rock after the Office.

    • Aaron

      Aw. (I don’t care).

      • coco

        Honestly, Hank Azaria has no TV appeal. He is just blah on TV. He might be good in supporting role. The show was boring & I know this will be canceled soon.BTW,I wanna share a good news to you.My best friend ,she just has announced her wedding with a millionaire man who is a businessman!they met via Millionaireloving.C óM ..it is the largest and best club for rich people and their admirers to chat online. …You do not have to be rich or famous. ,but you can meet one , It’s worthy a try,Maybe you wanna check it out or tell your friends!

      • JAM

        F off Coco

    • Alex F

      “Sword of Damocles,” idiot article-writer. Not sort.

      • Lee

        21st century editors are a moronic lot. Never mind the author screwing this up. The editor still should have caught it efore it ever went to print.

      • Bobby’s Robot

        Judging from the many articles I’ve read here, I’d say there is no editor.

      • Josh

        It looks like that was Azaria’s quote, not the writer’s

      • Josh

        I think I read the corrected version.

      • Alex F

        It was whoever wrote it misunderstanding what Azaria said.

      • Okay

        It’s also “a while,” not “awhile.”

    • janie

      they should put in Up All Night. makes WAY more sense as a thursday night show – might have more of a chance to develop an audience

      • kate.

        that would make sense if they cancelled whitney

    • Kate

      Is whitney really that great?

  • Ace

    That’s too bad. Free Agents wasn’t great, but it seemed like it had potential.

    • riley

      I know what you mean. It wasn’t the best show in the world, but I agree that it had some potential.

    • renee

      i really liked it.

      • Judy

        Me too! It was my second favorite new sitcom after New Girl. …Okay that was a lot of qualifiers but I liked it.

      • steve

        I also liked it – not the best show, but I laughed out loud several times each episodes, which is more than I can say for that crap on Whitney.

      • McKenna Lane

        I LOVED it. But this is my demographic. Like MANY others in society, I am a divorcee. There are so many people looking to “get back on the horse”. And for those of us who have gone through it…this show was a funny look at EXACTLY what our lives have become. Being friends with members of the opposite sex who have been in the same situation, maybe moving in way too fast, and being unsure that it’s the right time to claim that connection as a relationship. (Not trusting your feelings- even though those feelings are EXACTLY what you want again.)
        To the writers and actors… I say Great job! Don’t let the cancellation rob you of the knowledge that this show COULD have made it – if only given time!
        Thanks for the laughs!

    • CJ

      I think it would’ve had a lot more potential with at least 1 more likable lead. Azaria is very talented and funny, but he’s not the kind of guy you want in a show like this. He’s not the kind of guy you care about. I’m also a little tired of the brittle, unpleasant career woman stereotype.

    • Fatima

      I really liked the two leads’ chemistry. Not often you get a grown up romantic comedy like that. The supporting cast and workplace stuff never clicked though. I’ll actually miss this, but only until they put Kathryn Hahn in something else.

      • JQuin

        I agree the support cast were off but the show had potential. I’d rather watch this over Whitney any day of the week.

      • Kai

        was so excited for this show because of Kathryn Hahn, and then just ended up really liking it. So sad to see that they won’t give it a chance to gain some word of mouth numbers.

    • Jen

      I was enjoying it as well. I thought both leads actors were fun to watch. This is disappointing.

  • lettergirl

    it wasn’t great, but i did find myself laughing out loud at last week’s ep with the young girls in the bar yelling, ‘VOLDEMORT!!!’ before they drank and the guy said, ‘how old are they? isn’t that from HARRY POTTER?’ it had potential…too bad networks are so quick to pull the trigger.

  • Diggity

    I thought it was better than up all night or Whitney.

    • desmond


    • Jennifer

      Me too! I’m trying to like Up All Night, but I really liked this one better…

  • markus

    Honestly, Hank Azaria has no TV appeal. He is just blah on TV. He might be good in supporting role. The show was boring & I know this will be canceled soon.

    • candacetx


    • McKenna Lane

      so do NOT agree!
      I found him very appealing.
      An everyman…. but actually quite attractive in the role.

  • Carly

    I enjoy Kathryn Hahn and Tony Head, but this show was awful.

  • JLC

    Luckily, BBC America is about to start showing the Brit version upon which this is based (which is probably funnier anyway- Coupling anyone?)

    • Fatima

      American Coupling was insultingly bad. That wasn’t the case with this show. Just not a popular style of humor and some of the least attentive marketing I’ve ever seen NBC give a show. They put every single egg in the Up All Night basket.

      • Steph

        Yeah, Coupling was really bad. I think it aired only 3 episodes and I watched at least 2. It was painful. I only caught snippets of Free Agents at the gym, it seemed ok for a network show. I think cable is really giving the networks a hard time. We expect better TV now after shows like Justified, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Sopranos, etc.

      • Andy

        I think you mean NBC put all their marketing into Whitney. Its too bad Free Agents got cancelled, I really liked it.

  • Nick L. O’Deon

    This is more of a bummer for the wonderful Kathryn Hahn, but she has so much charm and talent that her career shouldn’t feel the sting too much and her great film roles will keep rolling in.

    • Fatima

      If I got one thing out of this show, it’s the fact that I discovered her. What a relaxed charm she has.

      • Raymond

        Check out the film “Our Idiot Brother”. She is GREAT in it.

  • Zippy

    I was looking at the listings last night and asked my husband “What is Free Agents?” Neither of us had heard of it. Didn’t watch it.

    • me neither

      I thought it was some sitcom about sports.

      • ks

        OMG me too

  • Sparky

    I had a feeling this would happen. Usually, American shows blatantly based on British shows rarely last. The Office almost seems like a fluke in that sense.

    • Amelia

      I appirecate you taking to time to contribute That’s very helpful.

  • Victor

    The original British one is better.

    Now Charlies Angels should be next in the cancelled list.

    • bobba

      Let’s hope so

    • PN

      If Charlie’s Angels falls to 56th or 65th place the 3rd of 4th week, it’s a goner! It’s been 42nd or 48th and as they say on Dancing with the Stars, “you’re in jeopardy.”

  • Shay

    Dang NBC is done,whose next for them? Harry’s law? And the Angels over at ABC should start packing their bags Pretty soon.

    • kate middleton

      This. NBC is a disaster.

      • Valdez

        Ditto, Kate!

  • cln

    It’s hard to get attached to any shows they come and go so quickly. It would be nice if the shows could stay on for a season. But of course, it’s about $.

    • PN

      Used to be in the ’80s that they’d run the show for the entire 22 shows and they decide if they want to keep it or cancel it. I remember when Charlie and Company (which had Gladys Knight and Flip Wilson) was on CBS in the 1985-1986 season. They ran the whole season. It was stuck in the 50s all season, 53rd, 54th, 56th place and CBS canceled it in May 1986. Now, they’re not taking any chances if they run the whole season and it’s stuck in 90th place every week, so they cancel it after 2 shows. They need to give shows a chance so people can watch the stories of them.

      • @PN

        Charlie & Company really isn’t a strong argument for giving shows a chance – CBS might as well have canceled it ASAP instead of letting it limp through an entire season.

  • iHeart

    Wow that is a bummer, Hank Azaria losing one job and could lose another (he’s on the simpsons)

  • bpr

    EW: It’s the “Sword of Damocles”, not “sort of Damocles”.

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