NBC Renews ‘I Can Do That!’, Cancels ‘A.D. The Bible Continues’ and ‘American Odyssey’
NBC made a pair of programming decisions this weekend that will affect their spring/summer schedules this time next year.
The network has decided to cancel freshman series American Odyssey and A.D. The Bible Continues, the continuation of producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s hit miniseries, The Bible. However, with the bad news for Burnett and Downey comes good news for Marlon Wayans. His talent series, I Can Do That!, has been renewed for a second season.
NBC had expected big ratings for A.D. after The Bible proved to be a ratings smash in March 2013 on The History Channel. But the project never took off. Ditto for American Odyssey, which suffered from silly executive meddling, such as changing the title just weeks before premiere (adding the word “American” to the original “Odyssey,” as if more people are suddenly going to watch it just because it has the word “American” in it).
However, I Can Do That! was far more successful. The show, which featured a celebrity judging panel attempting to perform feats from famous acts such as the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Snoop Dogg, and Penn and Teller, averaged a 1.7 live-plus-3 rating among adults 18-49. The renewal essentially widens the slate of variety programming at NBC, with Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris slated for the fall. I Can Do That!, which just wrapped its first season last Tuesday, will presumably return next summer, although it’s unknown if the show will opt for a longer season next year. This first season lasted a scant six episodes, which made the entire process feel a bit rushed. But that pacing and minimal time commitment might have been what helped the show succeed. Well, that and its charismatic panel of celebrities, and the interesting activities they had to perform.
“This series thrust our celebrities out of their comfort zones and into exciting, unpredictable situations, and they rose to the occasion each week,” said Paul Telegdy, NBC’s president of late-night and alternative programming. “We are thrilled to bring new challenges and up the ante for season two.”
Executive produced by The Voice‘s Audrey Morrissey, host Marlon Wayans, Dancing With the Stars‘s Matilda Zoltowski, Rick Alvarez, Avi Armoza, Nehama Cohen, Elwin De Groot and Steve Harris, I Can Do That! featured a panel that included Cheryl Burke, Joe Jonas, Ciara, Jeff Dye, Alan Ritchson and Nicole Scherzinger, who won the first season. It’s based on an Israeli format, and versions of the show are now being produced in fifteen countries, speaking to the wider popularity of the series as a whole.
Honestly, for me, I Can Do That! has been the big surprise of the summer. It makes such a natural pairing with America’s Got Talent that Tuesday nights have become my favorite night of programming this summer. It’s just such a fun show, with a panel that has great chemistry. I had no idea who Jeff Dye was before this, but I’m definitely a fan now. And the other celebs were just as entertaining, particularly Alan Ritchson and Cheryl Burke.
That said, while cancellation sucks for A.D. The Bible Continues, at least now Burnett and Downey won’t get accused of portraying President Obama as Satan anymore. Silver linings, people!
But what do you think of the renewal/cancellations? Sound off in the comments!