If you ask a TV aficionado for shows that were cancelled prematurely, they’ll likely include ABC’s Cupid on their list. Only 16 episodes of the 1998 series were created before the show and stars Jeremy Piven, Paula Marshall, and Jeffrey D. Sams were pink-slipped. In October 2007, with the possibility of a writers strike looming, ABC announced plans to remake the series.
The new version of Cupid takes place in New York City and centers around Trevor Pierce (Bobby Cannavale), an energetic bartender who believes that he’s actually the Roman god of love, Cupid. He’s been booted from Mt. Olympus and won’t be allowed back in until he brings 100 couples together. He ends up under the care of psychiatrist and self-help author Doctor Claire McCrae (Sarah Paulson). Not surprisingly, Claire’s work typically focuses romantic relationships. Her philosophy of true love focuses on building a friendship while Trevor views love as heat and passion. Other regulars include Rick Gomez and Camille Guaty.
In March of 2008, the network gave a greenlight for a pilot and in August ordered 13 episodes. The new version would air as a midseason replacement. With Rob Thomas (the original show’s creator) at the helm the network seemed in love with the idea of reviving the cult favorite.
Of the new Cupid and other shows ordered at that time, ABC’s president of Entertainment, Stephen McPherson, said, “We’re excited about these series and feel they’re perfect additions to our dominant core slate of shows.” For whatever reason, ABC’s enthusiasm now seems to have waned.
Cupid’s initial episode order was for 13 installments. In December, the network announced that Cupid would be premiering midseason but later than expected, on March 24th. Execs also quietly cut the show’s season order to just eight episodes. The official line was that the network wouldn’t need as many episodes because of the late premiere. The unofficial buzz was that the execs weren’t crazy about what they were seeing.
Now, ABC has pushed the premiere a little further back, to March 31st. They’ve also trimmed the episode order to just seven installments. The network again cites the schedule change as the reason for the reduction. Our friend Jace at Televisionary says that a contact at ABC Studios has indicated that the real reason was a disagreement over storylines.
Whatever the cause, the end result is the same. Cupid’s season has been drastically cut, to a number that’s less than half of the 1998 original. It hardly seems like ABC has much confidence that the show will be a hit or that execs will have much patience with it. Unless it’s an immediate hit, it will surely be pulled before the May sweeps period begins.
One of the biggest frustrations from fans of the original show was that we never learned if Trevor was actually Cupid or if he was just crazy. If this remake doesn’t make it past the initial seven episodes, viewers will be left hanging once again.
Sadly, it seems like ABC is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy with this remake. Is there any compelling reason why viewers should even give this show a chance?
Image courtesy ABC.