On the Scene 7/5: ‘Life in Pieces’ show runners disgruntled after premature cancellation

After its fourth season was held until the late spring 2019 air slot, CBS prematurely cancelled “Life in Pieces” before the series even had the time to air its latest season.

Now with the series being one of the best rated and most viewed shows of the spring, fans as well as the series’ own show runners, are petitioning the network to keep the comedic sitcom around for at least one more season.

The series, which began in 2015, is about an extended family, beginning with grandparents John and Joan Short (Josh Brolin and Diane Wiest), with their three children Matt (Thomas Sadoski), Heather (Betsy Brandt) and Greg (Colin Hanks), who are all grown and dealing with families of their own. Each episode was told in four separate smaller story arcs that intertwine with each other, hence the title: “Life in Pieces.”

Being a fan of the sitcom style, this has been one of the only series that I have enjoyed watching in the last decade. A cast who is not short (no pun intended) of any big names, the series was funny, witty and heartfelt through all 79 episodes up until the finale that aired on June 27.

For the past two months, showrunners have been following the series’ ratings as well as its viewership and have been posting some pretty subtle hints on their feelings of the cancellation on social media platforms.

Colin Hanks, yes, the son of Tom, has been tweeting his grievances for the entirety of the fourth season’s run. He even went as far as to respond to CBS’ own ratings tweet regarding the series and bashed them for cancelling the show before even seeing how well it would do.

Zoe Lister-Jones, who plays Hanks’ wife on the sitcom, was also a part of the network bashing, as she has been posting her feelings on the cancellation for its 10-week spring run as well. Fans of the series have started a petition to keep the series alive after its finale and the form has already generated more than 2,000 signatures.

Now, most would think this is a bit much, but you need to think how many people lost their jobs because the network decided they would cancel a series before even seeing how well it would do just to make some other garbage show about Patricia Heaton becoming a doctor in her 50s that not only looks horrendous, but is sure to be cancelled before even earning a full season run.

The main cast that featured 13 cast members, five of whom are big names, never saw this coming because the network pulled the plug in the midst of filming the fourth season. But don’t forget the hundreds of crew members across several departments who are also out of a job due to the network’s poor judgement.

But my voice alone can’t persuade you that CBS has a lack in judgement when it comes to its series airings, so here are the new half-hour shows coming from the network this fall.

The first, titled “Bob Hearts Abishola,” is Chuck Lorre’s latest series for the network, which will be airing on Monday nights. As a fan of Lorre and his series like “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Disjointed,” I will always give anything he writes a try, but this just sounds awful. Starring Billy Gardell (from “Mike and Molly,” another of Lorre’s series), the show follows an overweight man who has a heart attack and wakes up in the hospital just to fall in love with his Nigerian nurse. If anyone has seen the trailer, the concept goes from being sweet and heartfelt to looking idiotic.

On Thursdays viewers will be getting two new half-hour comedies. The first, which I mentioned before, stars Patricia Heaton as a woman in her 50s who is starting over after getting divorced and trying to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. In “Carol’s Second Act,” Heaton must try to be a medical intern in a group where she is not only the eldest, but old enough to be the mother of every other intern. Not only is the concept outlandish, it doesn’t even sound funny…

CBS’ third and final new series for the fall is one that actually looks as if someone on the network’s team is doing his/her job. “The Unicorn,” which stars Walton Goggins, is about a widower raising two daughters who is trying to get back into the dating scene with encouragement from his friends, though he has no idea what he is doing. What could serve as a saving grace to the network’s new fall series lineup will ultimately end up being cancelled prematurely before it has the time to take off.

Needless to say, there are three time slots open in CBS’ fall lineup and “Life in Pieces” deserves to be in at least two of them. A network that cares more about its streaming service, which crashes and freezes halfway through trying to watch anything, does not deserve to keep a series as funny and charming as “Life in Pieces.”


To sign the petition for another network to pick up “Life in Pieces” for a fifth season, follow the link here: www.change.org/p/cbs-renew-life-in-pieces?cs_tk=AsA-vpPTEUOeCEdJHV0AAXicyyvNyQEABF8BvL62dlJ7_8l5qzSI2FOde-E%3D&utm_campaign=d8318622a60f407b9b8f8ceda073850a&utm_medium=email&utm_source=petition_signer_receipt&utm_term=cs


Ken Downey Jr. is the Features Editor for Time OFF and Packet Publications. This is a part of his series of weekly columns focusing on arts and entertainment. He can be contacted at kdowney@newspapermediagroup.com.