The Class aired its last first run episode Monday night on CBS, right according to schedule. The New Adventures of Old Christine will replace it in the 8:30pm timeslot starting March 12th. Does this mean that The Class has been cancelled? No. At least, not yet.
The Class debuted on Monday, September 18, 2006 on CBS. The sitcom revolves around a group of 28-year-olds who were part of the same third grade class 20 years before. After being reunited by Ethan (Jason Ritter), the former classmates begin to get to know each other once again and become intertwined. The series also stars Lizzy Caplan, Heather Goldenhersh, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sean Maguire, Jon Bernthal, Andrea Anders and Lucy Punch.
The series, created by the co-creator of Friends David Crane and his partner Jeffrey Klarik (Mad About You), had been the subject of a bidding war by several networks. It premiered at 8pm (a difficult slot for a new show) and attracted an under-whelming 7.6 million households. Viewership dropped for the next two weeks to an average of 6.1 million. CBS moved it to 8:30, switching places with How I Met Your Mother and the ratings haven’t really improved, averaging under six million households weekly.
The Class has gone through some challenges behind-the-scenes as well. Realizing that the main cast of eight former classmates (combined with many recurring characters) was unwieldy, the producers sought to refocus the show on the characters’ romantic relationships. As a result, they limited the recurring role appearances and wanted to make series regular Lucy Punch (reporter Holly Ellenbogen) a recurring character as well. Punch declined and subsequently left the series. She was removed from the opening credits after episode 13. Though her effeminate husband Perry (Sam Harris) has appeared, Holly’s absence hasn’t been addressed.
If you’re counting, you know that only 19 episodes of The Class have aired. Though it’s an unusual number for a TV season, that’s all there are. CBS gave the series an initial order for 13 episodes and then ordered only six more in November.
Will The Class return for a second season? CBS isn’t expected to announce its plans until the “network upfronts” in May when they announce their Fall schedule. Right now the prospects for a second season of The Class don’t look good.
Right now, CBS has a two-hour block of four sitcoms. Rules of Engagement, which debuted last month, has done extremely well holding onto Two and a Half Men’s typical 10+ million households audience. Before going on hiatus, The New Adventures of Old Christine was attracting solid numbers and is expected to do well when it returns this Monday. How I Met Your Mother is the weakest show in the group audience-wise but has consistently outperformed The Class. Right now, there’s no good reason for CBS to dump any of those other shows, which essentially leaves no room for a second season of The Class.
Is there hope? Well, if CBS decides to add some sitcoms on another night then that would create an opening in the schedule. Right now, though their schedule is overflowing with crime procedural and reality shows, they generally get great ratings. CBS could also order a second season of The Class and use them to replace Christine or Mother reruns mid-season.
On the upside, the series won the People’s Choice Award for Best New Comedy. CBS generally seems to like the show and has faith in the creative team. The final decision will likely have to do with how the rest of their new Fall schedule shapes up. Will Kat and Ethan get together? Will Ritchie marry Lina? Will Duncan and Nicole get back together? Will Kyle have more to do than pal around with Ethan? Stay tuned!