Why didn't the show "Undeclared" make it?

Bad ratings. I know.

But I don’t understand why it had bad ratings. Though it was single camera, it was a pretty straight forward comedy. It wasn’t heady like Arrested Development. It was pretty much a good, solid college dorm comedy.

I just finished watching the full season on DVD (I had seen most of them) and I just don’t get it. Were the ratings so bad that Fox couldn’t have brought it back for another season? The only online ariticles I saw said it was a bubble show, which means it had SOME promise.

I think this could have been a nice show for Fox. It had good reviews, it was funny and it was approachable.

That is the bad thing about watching good shows on DVD that were cut down in their prime. It kind of makes you blue.

I get why Freaks and Geeks didn’t make it (lousy title and one hour shows tend to skew older), but a solid comedy that is full of laughs and doesn’t make you think too much? Those are usually winners.

I watched this show and thought it was entertaining, but not outstanding.

Yes, I get that the lead protagonist is an awkward teen fumbling his way through college. I laughed at the “who likes pickles?” bit.

But ultimately, as a viewer, I expect more from a show if I am to be riveted. Arrested Development rivets me in front of the screen for the entire 30 minutes. So does Prison Break.

Undeclared left me wanting more. The protagonist needs some unique talent, some goals, some aspirations, something special about him. There needs to be more hotties and more quirky personalities. IMHO, it ended up being a blander version of Scrubs.

But that is usually a criticism of every successful show on television, isn’t it.

It wasn’t edgy or took chances. Scrubs has an edge about it. It has several surreal moments.

Undeclared played it straight and went for the easy laugh.

Those are the types of shows that usually become hits.

Ok, then how about this… it wasn’t on CBS. A lot of the bland, “easy laugh” CBS sitcoms make it for no discernable reason. Shows like King of Queens, Yes Dear, Two and a Half Men, and Still Standing get a lot of leeway.

Fox executives, on the other hand, swing the cancellation scythe at the drop of a hat.

God, yes. I can’t count the number of times I have read about television execs not knowing their jobs and cancelling “teh best show evar!” no matter how stupid it was in my almost three years here. The only thing more certain is the dozen dueling threads announcing every celebrity death, no matter how (un)famous they were.

That said and hijack aside, I liked Undeclared. It just didn’t pull the numbers that was expected of it is my guess.

Fox just takes more risks, and probably has more at stake with each new show. So when it seems like they cancel more good shows, they also give more good shows a chance in the first place. I just spent this weekend watching Profit on DVD (a Fox show that consisted of eight episodes, but was canceled after only four), and it took a lot of balls for them to support a show like that in the first place. It was ahead of its time, and I can’t fault them for caving into pressure and pulling it prematurely. It’s disappointing, especially when you look at all the bland dreck that actually makes it, but I’d rather Fox take some chances than none at all (like CBS).

I’m not sure if it was a cause or effect, but I do remember that they did certain things that would tend to sabotage the show. Things like playing the season out of order so that characters were referencing or acting as a result of actions that hadn’t happened yet. It also was a victim of the dreaded “unannounced pre-emption”. I remember a good three or four week period where it was listed in the TV listings but when I tuned in it was just another “That 70’s Show” rerun or something. It annoyed the hell out of me, likely because NBC had just given “Freaks and Geeks” the same treatment.

Undeclared was scheduled on Tuesday nights following the established That 70s Show. Its only real competition for the expected audience was Buffy over on UPN. CBS ran JAG and and ABC & NBC ran some forgotten sitcoms. My guess the shows greatest sin was that it didn’t hold that audience that the 70s Show was bringing in at 8pm. Perhaps the differences between the single camera Undeclared & the three camera+laughed tracked 70s Show was too jarring. The show might have done better if it had been paired with Malcolm in the Middle.

Also worthy of mention is that Fox’s fall season was interrupted by a very long baseball postseason. The World Series went the full seven games and lasted into November because of the canceled week of games post 9/11. Whatever audience Undeclared might have gotten early in September was lost when the show disappeared for a month. I’m not sure but 2002 might have been when Fox started experimenting with waiting until after the World Series to begin its fall season.

The patience that Fox has shown with Arrested Development is the exception to the rule. Fox has always been noted for killing shows that were well received if not well watched, which is why AD is lucky to have lasted as long as it has. However, I’m thinking that the patience has run out despite the latest Emmy nod. While watching baseball on Fox I’m seeing lots of ads for House and Prison Break and nothing for Arrested Development. Next Monday there is no baseball but Fox is running two Prison Break episodes rather than AD & and the Wacky Sober New York Chef show. AD might be disappearing into the time slot swap around hell when baseball does end.

I agree with you. I am not really blaming Fox. I am more shocked that the show didn’t pull the numbers to be respectable.

Most of the time, I understand why shows that I like are cancelled. They are shows that appeal to a very small demographic that usually includes me and my fellow Dopers. This one just didn’t feel like a niche show. It felt broad enough to be a 70s Show-esque hit.

Guh. My reading comprehension seems to be really screwed up lately as that mini-diatribe of mine was completely out of left field and had no relevance to anything previously posted.

Sorry if you took it as a criticism of your OP, middleman. It wasn’t meant that way and I don’t know what I think I read when I posted it.

This is a good theory. Single camera series may be too fringe for the masses. That is a shame.

I missed the show when it was on, and bought the DVDs. Even on the DVD set, the shows are so out of order, I can’t figure out what the hell is going on. It’s a shame it was canceled, because I saw one or two of my college experiences perfectly re-captured for all the world to see–especially the rec room full of people whose roommates were having sex. (Except we didn’t have rec rooms, so we were all lounging about the lobby with no television.)

No worries. I have even made that diatribe myself before. Everyone is so much smarter than the experts who run the network! :smiley:

Here you go! That should help.

I liked Undeclared partly because freshman year was such a special time and I found the idea of a show about it very appealing. But I wonder what they would have done if the show had survived. For one thing, they’d probably need to declare a major before the fourth year and what would that mean for the title?

Here’s a link to the “official” PDF replacement insert for the DVD set. According to a note on the PDF insert (written by Judd Apatow, the show’s creator), as soon as Fox started showing the series out of order, they stopped producing them in order. They then “got confused” when putting the DVD set together; the PDF is the proper chronological order of the series:


PDF Warning (duh!)