Undercovers was canceled by NBC, a decision that could probably have been predicted by anyone. The decision to cancel Undercovers seems to be anchored in the low ratings for the show, which only continued to get worse this past week. Entertainment Weekly confirmed the cancellation, noting that the network decided not to have the final nine episodes made. That means Undercovers will come to an end after its 13th episode of the season, and then the show will vanish from NBC, the latest in a series of dramas not faring well enough in the ratings.
Undercovers has been airing on Wednesday nights, but the ratings have not been very strong. The show has been continuously finishing third (behind CBS and ABC) on Wednesday nights, just barely ahead of new episodes of Hell’s Kitchen on Fox. The shows regularly beating Undercovers on Wednesdays were Survivor: Nicaragua on CBS and The Middle on ABC. This past week saw the viewership increase for Survivor, while Undercovers was down to just 5.85 million viewers overall. In the key demographic of viewers 18-49, they could only draw in 1.3 million. Not exactly what NBC was hoping for in the time slot.
NBC didn’t give an exact reason for canceling Undercovers yet, but it is pretty clear that they expected better things from the show when they bought the J.J. Abrams project. It seemed like this would be a show that could actually win the 8 p.m. time slot on Wednesday nights, and there wasn’t a lot of big competition going against them. It was also supposed to be a good lead-in for Law & Order: SVU, which has consistently been one of the highest-rated shows that NBC has had these past few years; it has continued surviving. Undercovers just couldn’t attract the viewers to its action-oriented and serialized format.
Undercovers was supposed to be a nice springboard for stars Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Steven and Samantha Bloom in the show), but it’s also possible that, because they aren’t as well-known in the acting game, it just wasn’t the right combination. Maybe viewers just weren’t ready for another spy-oriented show, especially one that seemed to drag a bit through its first few episodes. Now fans are going to have to enjoy the final few episodes (there are six left to air) fully knowing that the show is heading toward the end this fall. There has not yet been an indication as to what NBC will do in the spring during the Wednesday 8 p.m. hour. The next episode will air on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at its normal time.