Just after ABC brought back Happy Endings, complete with a somewhat lazy campaign to save the show from what seems like inevitable cancellation, there might actually be some good news for the comedy series.
Right now the problem is that Happy Endings isn't pulling in enough viewers to warrant being on primetime network television. The series' return last Friday resulted in 2.97 million viewers for the first episode, and 2.29 for the second (ABC is airing episodes back-to-back until the end of the season). However, there's a great solution for this problem.
Deadline has word that if ABC chooses to cancel Happy Endings, which seems like a foregone conclusion at this point, USA has been looking at the logistics of picking up the show as one of its first half-hour comedy endeavors. While the cable network has found success with hour-long shows like Royal Pains, White Collar and Burn Notice, they've yet to get a half-hour series off the ground despite actively developing and ordering new pilots.
Picking up a series with an established audience would be a great way to start a new direction for USA, and it would coincidentally have an ABC companion to go along with it since the network has been looking for another series to pair with the syndicated airing of Modern Family. Funny enough, Happy Endings used to air after Modern Family for its first two seasons, and was doing just fine until it was moved to Tuesdays in an already crowded comedy block timeslot. It's the same reason Don't Trust the B in Apt. 23 has been struggling as well.
ABC's recent decision to move the series into a graveyard timeslot on Friday evenings doesn't help either, and it actually caused the show to lose more viewers. In this day and age though, cancellation on one of the big network's does not mean death. Cougar Town was resurrected by TBS and now has a fifth season order. If USA can pick up Happy Endings and deliver at least a couple more seasons, fans would be pretty grateful and pleased. Plus, that means the series would have enough to get a syndication deal, and that's what the executives really like to see.
If anything, ABC cancelling Happy Endings would essentially be a blessing in disguise so USA can give it the time, respect and promotion it needs to survive. Networks like ABC demand results immediately whereas cable has more time to let a series simmer and really find a comfortable home and dedicated audience. Stay tuned.
Happy Endings airs Fridays @8pm on ABC