NBC Cancels JJ Abrams ‘Undercovers’

Star Trek producer/director JJ Abrams latest series Undercovers has effectively been cancelled by NBC. The network has announced that they will not be picking up any additional episodes after the initial 13 ordered. More details below. 


Undercovers Canceled

JJ Abrams (director of Mission: Impossible III and creator of Alias) returned to the spy genre this year with Undercovers on NBC, a series about two married spies. The show began the season with a lot of buzz and promotion and an expensive pilot directed and co-written by Abrams. However, the pilot got middle of the road ratings and they have been in decline since, so NBC has decided it will not be picking up additional episodes beyond their initial order for 13, effectively cancelling the show.

TV By The Numbers opines on the cancellation:

The news is hardly surprising after Undercovers hit series lows Wednesday night with a 1.3 adults 18-49 rating that tied with a repeat of Hell’s Kitchen on Fox, but it likely sends a shiver down the spine of Fringe fans who think no network would possibly ever cancel a JJ Abrams show.

NBC has aired seven episodes so far with three more scheduled (November 10, November 17 and December 1). It is unknown if or when the final three will be aired.

Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw – stars ofNBC’s Undercovers

As for the other two new shows from Star Trek vets, both Hawaii Five-0 (developed by Star Trek writer/producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman) and $#!* My Dad Says (starring William Shatner) were recently given full season orders by CBS and both continue to get strong ratings.

As for the aforementioned Fox sci-fi series Fringe (created by Abrams, Orci & Kurtzman), ratings for the third season continue to struggle and last night’s episode was a season low with just a 1.8 rating in the key 18-49 demographic. It is fair to say that Fringe is ‘on the bubble’ with regards to getting a fourth season.

While things didn’t work out for Abrams on Undercovers, the producer still has a number of pilots in development for the next season.

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When I lived in the States, I enjoyed a good dose of “Fringe” now and then, thanks mostly to Steward of Gondor Denethor actor as an acid-rattled scientist.

JJ has the luxury now to learn from failures and revel in massive success. Let’s hope Trek2012 in in the latter group!

Undercovers? zero presence…

5-0? new Baywatch…

Fringe muddied the waters too much w/ alternate universe…
(i think they changed the time slot too, i’m loosing interest…)

Daily Show / Colbert Report / Futurama / Tosh.0 are my favorites, at least they make me laugh! =D

“i think they changed the time slot too”

No, they didn’t. It’s at the same day and time as last season.

And I’m not sure how someone could lose interest in “Fringe”, when it’s obvious that it’s currently at its height. I mean, where could the story go after this?

WHAAAAAAT!? This was the only show out of the three I was getting into… Why the heck would it be cancelled? I thought it was well written, well directed and well acted (plus the leading lady isn’t too hard on the eyes). $#!* My Dad Says, isn’t funny to me really at all. However I am glad to see the Shat having success with it. 5-0 is pretty good, I guess I just really haven’t given it much chance. I’m really sad to see Undercovers go! Dear FOX, please don’t cancel FRINGE!!!

#3. The show did lose a significant amount of its audience when it moved timeslots at the beginning of S2.

Im likeing Hawaii Five 0 and No Ordanary Family. I watched the Pilot of Undercovers and just seemed like the same ole same ole. Thise are the only new shows I watched and only 2 of them I am now watching for this season along with my other fav shows from past seasons. Undercovers was a good try but just did not have anything fresh.

Darn! I’ve been watching it every week. :(

Sorry to say, I didn’t like this show, but I appreciate the effort.

D: I hadn’t seen the show with the lack of a television, but my mother had been watching it and it was good.

I love Fringe though, and feel sad I can’t watch it. Well, starting next week I can since I finally bought a television.

Well, I’m looking forward to whatever else JJ puts on tv next. :D

I couldn’t get past the painfully beautiful leads I saw in the summer promo spots. They picked clips that focused on style….leaving me with the impression of zero substance. There was one clip they kept showing with the female lead posing in her Victoria’s Secret underwear. Unlike, say, Angelina Jolie in a similar role as Mrs. Smith, she looked embarrassed to be there rather than alluring.

Never bothered to tune in.

I never watched “Undercovers”, I just never had the slightest interest in the show. “Alias” was great until it went off the sci-fi deep end, and I probably should have given “Undercovers” a try, but neither of the leads really got my attention. My current spy show craving is handled well by “Chuck”, with the terrific “Covert Affairs” in summer.

“Hawaii Five-O” I’m still watching and hoping that the writing tightens up. It needs to get a little more realistic (no more sci-fi spy satellite silliness), start actually seeing somone else working at Five-O besides the four leads (that huge building with the Kamehameha statute just for the four of them?), that sort of thing. Add another character or two, maybe make Hiro the Coroner full time and tone down (wayyyyyyy down) his weirdness.

I think “Fringe” might well have been hurt by the World Series. I really wasn’t expecting anything new on FOX last night, as I thought Fox cleared last week and this week for the World Series regardless of how many games it went. But my TiVo lit up when “Bones” came on (I was watching “Big Bang Theory”), so I knew both shows were probably new.

“Fringe” has been absolutely outstanding, with one or two exceptions, since the episode “Jacksonville” last spring. The two universes concept is paying off bigtime. Last night’s episode was great!

SO even the ‘almighty’ Abrams can have a failure

Am I the only who is NOT interested in any of the shows that JJ Abrams churns out?

I might give Fringe a try but Undercovers did not appeal to me.


The reason I seem happy about this means that not everyone will blindly follow one of his shows just because he is JJ Abrams.


Does anyone even WATCH NBC anymore?

@ 13, 14, 15 — Captain Neill

Dude, posting 1 sentence teenagerish attacks on JJ in 3 separate sequential posts is NOT convincing any of us that more people can’t stand his shows. At least take the time to use fake separate handles here like most of the other posters — that way all 4 of you might at least convince some newbies to this website that their is some anti-JJ groundswell going on.

And also, GROW UP!

PS: Bob Orci, love Hawaii 5-0, and am embarrassed by these posts here…I apologize on behalf of all good people who congregate on this website.

okey, so for those saying that Fringe time slot didn’t get changed. It used to be on Tuesday, and got moved to Thursday. I don’t much care, because I end up watching it on Hulu.

I wonder if that still counts in the viewership numbers, since I get some of the comercials on Hulu too. If that’s not the case I may have to start watching the show when it airs to support the Cause. I wasn’t so sure about Fringe at the end of last season, but so far, this season has been great.

If Fox bails on Fringe I will be forced to unleash a Costco-size can of whoop-ass. The show is at an all time high, storywise, and only gets better as it goes on.


Well, Bob, I’m sure you can buy your pal J.J a drink or two, to, you know, kind of cheer him up! :-)

By the way, “Hawaii Five-O” is really good. Congratulations!

13, 14, 15

Give it a rest, pal! Your anti-J.J Abrams rhetoric had long ago worn thin. Quite frankly I can’t believe your posts haven’t been deleted. They border on trolling and flaming. Without J.J Abrams there would be no TrekMovie.Com, ironically on which you continue to degrade and insult the man. If you don’t have anything nice to say, then just SHUT THE HELL UP AND GET LOST!

18. Gee, sorry if expressing my opinion that Hawaii Five-O needs work means I’m not a good person. I’m still watching and hoping it gets better, and I expect it will get better.

Not every show starts out great like “Lost” did, especially when said show has a legend to live up to like “Five-O” does. I think the show has a lot of potential, but it hasn’t reached it yet.

My suggestions:
– Populate the Five-O headquarters with extras. At least someone there to answer the friggin’ phone.
– Tone down the wacky Medical Examiner.
– Find someone with a military background to sanity check the scripts.
– No more Superhero McGarrett antics like him suddenly being an expert helicopter pilot, please.

If you think the show is perfect as is, MJ, I’m glad to hear it.

And before anyone else jumps for joy over the fact that “Undercovers” got cancelled, just remember that a lot of hardworking and talented people are now out of work. Most of them don’t earn a ton of dough, and in Hollywood, just like the outside world, steady work is hard to find.


Actually, if it weren’t for Anthony Pascale there wouldn’t be Trekmovie.com. JJ or no JJ, a new trek movie was eventually going to be made, and credit should go to Pascale and the rest of the staff that put together this wonderful site. Just saying…

SAVE FRINGE! Entertainment Weekly lists it as one of “5 Low Rated Shows Worth Checking Out.” (11-12-10, pg. 66) If you love intelligent science fiction, this show is for you. If it can survive, I hope they explore the cover up of extraterrestrial life by the government after the alt-Olivia arc is over. And trust me, alien stories an be different from X-Files. Skip the super soldier nonsense in X-Files. If the government has crashed UFOs, it’s the biggest secret since the Manhatten Project, probably bigger.

By the way in my opinion, Fox mistreated this show in the second season. Fox should not have moved it after just one year on the air. Fox should have let the show gain momentum by building a larger audience. Maybe Bad Robot can move it to HBO or get this move it to SyFy (ugh, that moniker) for real science fiction.

And if you’re an actor, WATCH JOHN NOBLE. He’s a riot as the child-like genius Walter Bishop and deceptive as the alternate Bishop. He’s great because I can tell his emotions by merely watching his face. It’s similar to Dame Judi Dench’s performance in “Notes on a Scandel.” (2006) You could read every emotion on her face without her uttering a line. Both are just astounding.

Get out and watch Fringe! Check that. Get to the couch and turn it to Fringe on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. (ET) on Fox.

@22 Thorny. I appreciate that your comments are well meaning and well thought out. Please don’t consider my comments as referring to your posts here. Hawaii 5-0 is not perfect, but it is the only new show that I really like this year, and the chemistry among the actors is absolutely superb for a show early in its first season.

In the context of some of the others posting here though, I think Red Dead Ryan and I have heard this before from the same clowns and are getting fatigued with the sophomoric and unnecessarily negative pot shots at JJ, Bob Orci and company. Enough is enough!

MJ and Red Dead Ryan

I’m sorry that my posts seemed a bit teenagerish to you, that was not my intention.

Although I am not a JJ Abrams fan I still enjoyed his movie, I don’t think his movie is the best ever thing in Trek like most others seem tho think on this site. And unlike everyone on this site JJ Abrams shows just don’t appeal to me.

It was not my intention to sound childish about it but it was beginning to sound like JJ ABrams can do no longer and every one blindly followed him where as writers like Ron Moore and Brannon Braga, who I both find better writers, continuously get berated and insulted on this site.

MJ- If my comments were getting deleted just because I did not share your opinion on JJ Abrams then it would seem like I was being censored for having an opinion that didn’t match everyone else.

I gave the new movie 4 out of 5 so don’t think I am a hater of the movie. I don’t. I have problems with some changes but when ever I watch it I ignore those problems and enjoy the new movie as a stand alone entity which is part of the history but stands alone because its new canon.

Once again I sincerely apologise for my opinion of JJ Abrams not being the same as others. But if we had all the same thoughts we would all be Borg drones.

I think the Harve Bennett incident has proven that some fans hate seeing people dislike the new movie yet its okay for them to spread hate and dislike among the other Treks.

How do you think this hate makes people who have liked Star Trek for years and love the new movie, but don’t see it as the best ever?

Also if its wrong to have a different opinion then I can go to startrek.com, at least there is a more balance opinion on all shows and movies.

Sorry for this being so long.

Sorry to hear Undercovers didn’t pan out. The problem with ratings these days, IMHO, is that I never watch shows when they air! I might use Sky+ but generally I buy the Blu-rays. I have genuinely never watched Buffy, Angel, Mad Men, Supernatural, Alias, Fringe or Lost on broadcast TV. They’re a once-a-year feeding frenzy for me, like a volume of an epic novel with multiple chapters! I know I’m not the only one who does this either!

I am glad it didn’t pan out! What a dumb show!

All this talk about the sainted JJ Abrams just makes me wonder where Chris Carter is. Will we ever see anything new from him on TV? I hope so. Abrams just doesn’t seem to have the real storytelling sense that Carter did – although Fringe episodes are among the best I’ve ever seen on TV!

#2 – Fringe muddied the waters too much w/ alternate universe…
(i think they changed the time slot too, i’m loosing interest…)

You’re also losing your spelling abilities.

Unless you’re in the parallel universe where adding an extra “o” to lose or losing is correct.

FRINGE became a *lot* more interesting when they crossed over.

@ 29 – Rich: “All this talk about the sainted JJ Abrams….although Fringe episodes are among the best I’ve ever seen on TV!”

Well, which is it? Make up your mind? :-)

@26. Appreciate you explaining more about your 3 posts. However, as well meaning as your new lengthy post is, if one goes back and look at your original 3 posts I think they speak for themselves in terms of your teenagerish gleeful potshots and JJ and company. :-)

BTW, I really don’t know of anyone personally who worships Abrams and company. Personally, I love ST09, and Lost, but am not a big fan of Fringe, and never quite got into Alias. And in general, when producers or directors I am not fond of have an unsuccessful project (e.g. I really don’t like John Wu’s movies), I don’t really feel the need to celebrate about it like the guy knows me and I am showing him and his followers their comeuppance. You must admit that behavior like this would be considered childish by most people.

Undercovers didn’t have the excitement – very vanilla when Fringe is Chocolate Chip Mint with fudge chunks.


Neill, I understand where you are coming from. Your opinions are entirely valid. But as you say, not everyone is going to agree with you on J.J Abrams’ new “Star Trek” and how it compares to previous Treks. I’m glad you like the film. While I and many others like the film a little more than you do, you are correct in saying there were many flaws in the film. But there are flaws in every previous Trek film, and the vast majority of movies overall. It just comes down to what people can look past and what they can’t. For me, “The Wrath Of Khan” and “First Contact” rank first, followed closely by “Star Trek”. And for you, the new movie I would assume ranks fith or sixth. That’s perfectly fine.

What bothers the rest of us is you repeating on every thread how J.J Abrams is an overrated director or how he did some things that put you off. It has gotten tiresome.

Some people don’t like the spinoffs. Some people like some of the spinoffs and dislike others. Other folks aren’t huge fans (gasp!) of “The Original Series”. And others are only fans of the new movie. Everyone has differing tastes and opinions. Its just the way it is. You just have to accept that.

And if you feel hurt when people slam the efforts of Rick Berman, Brannon Braga and Harve Bennett, just remember that Bob Orci is a huge fan of TOS and “The Next Generation”. That is something you can take solace in. :-)


Poker After Dark

I will never understand the glee some people seem to have when something they didn’t care for gets cancelled. “Yay! Some network executives have vindicated MY tastes! HOORAY!”

Somehow, I think there’s enough broadcast space for lots of *different* shows for lots of *different* audiences.

Personally, I watched the first episode of Undercovers, thought it was cute, statred to watch the second episode and realized it had already lost my interest.

But that was ME. For those who liked the show – sorry to hear it went away.


I am sorry I won’t comment on it again.

But thanks for understanding


I’m going to disagree with the idea that the day change was a bad idea. What’s a better lead-in for Fringe: Glee or Bones? I’d say the latter. Maybe the move hurt the show, or maybe serialized storytelling just tends to insulate shows against new viewers? We may never know.

@ 39

Fringe has to go against established juggernauts. ‘CSI.” “Grey’s Anatomy”, and “The Office.” (See Thursday schedule below.) “Glee” is starting to become a pop culture icon. See wiki story below about the season one finale being the highest rated show. Thursday is a tough night against that competition and I like “Glee”‘s upcoming numbers.

I’m not a fan of serialized storytelling after getting burned by “Lost” for season six. By the way, there are many former Losties who feel the same way. Search the phrase “why Lost sucks” on Yahoo and you get the websites. Serialized storytelling is risky and can confuse new viewers and even old fans if they are not keeping up. Hence, I want them to get past the alt-Olivia arc asap. Season One of Fringe did feature some stories that stood alone. With the exception of Enterprise, Star Trek did very little serialized storytelling. Regardless, there are multiple story arc other than the parallel worlds that Fringe can follow. I will suggest again the cover-up of alien life by the government.

If Fox cancels Fringe, I hope another network will pick it up. For example see TNT, AMC, HBO, SyFy (ugh, that moniker) etc.

Thursday night lineup link

Wiki on Glee.


I’m not disputing Glee’s ratings; rather, I’m pointing out that Bones is a better lead-in because at least it’s kind of in the same genre. Not that someone who likes Glee might not like Fringe (I happen to be entertained by both, though Glee has lost most of the fun from the first season and seems to be in a steady decline), but it seems more likely that it would retain more viewers following Bones. Also worth noting is that Bones is no slouch in the ratings, either. It beats both The Office and Glee, on average.

The Office has been in a critical and ratings decline since Season 5, and I’d imagine it will plummet after Steve Carrell leaves at the end of this season.

I don’t really understand your point about Lost. Surely that show was the very definition of serialized storytelling right out of the gate? Most problems fans seem to have with Season 6 had to do with the sideways universe, not that the show was serialized. Also, a great deal of DS9 was serialized, and that marked the creative peak of that show as well, IMHO.

Fringe only came into its own once the alternate universe stuff was really solidified, so I can’t think of any good reason why they should abandon their most creatively satisfying storyline. So I’ll have to strongly disagree with your desire to abandon the alt storyline. The show peaks with every new episode this year! I’d rather it get canceled while creatively on top instead of compromising its integrity for ratings. Alien coverup stuff would just turn it into an X-Files clone, and they already suffer from enough comparisons to that show.

This show deserved to be canceled. It was more soap drama than Alias.

Not everything abrams touches turns to gold.

@42 – skyjedi “Not everything abrams touches turns to gold.”


I don’t know if one person who like’s everything he has ever done…not one single person?

SOME OF YOU NEED TO GET THESE JJ CHIP’S OFF YOUR SHOULDER! Either that or take some anti-depressants or something to relax you on all things JJ. LOL

@40 @41

Agree with Sean. I liked the ending of Lost Season 6.

@ 41

First, I don’t want to abandon the parallel universe portion of Fringe. I’m just for resolving the alt-Olivia arc soon. If a new viewer wants to get into the show, they might be confused as to who is the real Olivia. That’s all. As far as suffering comparisons to X-Files, well that’s a given. Because the show took part of its inspiration from X-Files. (Wikipedia article below.) Alien life cover-up can be done without the illogical X-Files plotlines. (Scully can’t get prenant. Now she can. The baby has special powers maybe it’s alien. No it’s Mulder’s love child.) I’m not talking about replacing the parallel universe with alien life just that if we’re talking about “fringe” science, what could be more out there? Ability to travel between stars? UFO. Exotic power sources? UFO. Alien life? UFO. Biggest government cover-up because it would alter society and disclose possible weapons research? UFO. It’s just another source of stories.

On serialized television, the point is that I’m very leery of watching a series with those plotlines that are pivotal to the whole show. DS9 did have serialized story arcs. It also had episodes which stood alone. In fact, let’s use DS9 as an example on how serialized TV was done right. I was satisfied with the conclusion and so were fans by looking at the Captains Log Fans Collective DVD which included the finale.

This is not about Lost, but I have to go over why I felt burned by the show since you don’t see my point. You may have loved it Great But I invested a lot of time watching the whole series. Then Season Six hit. Still interested. Then the jump the shark moment. came with “Across the Sea.” Now the show is the Ghost Whisperer. Sideways world is purgatory. Ha, ha. fooled us. (TrekMovie also got fooled. Link below.) It’s a world that the castaways created so they could find each other. That last line comes out of nowhere in the end. Now if I want to get everybody together for one big contrived happy ending then all I do is add one line. And forget about answering questions. For example, ‘How did the castaways survive the nuclear explosion, what is the Island, why didn’t Jack tun into a smoke monster when he entered the cave, etc.

The point? If I begin to watch a show and see signs of serialized story telling dominating the show, then I’m probably going to bail Yes, Fringe has a lot of serialized storytelling. But I started to watch Fringe before the last season of “Lost.” I’m not going to waste my time like I did with “Lost” and get disappointed again. Do other television viewers feel the same way? I don’t know. We have to wait to see what happens to other shows that are heavily serialized. But the recent history is not good. “Threshold.” Gone. “Flash Forward.” Gone.

I do see your point that “Bones” is a better lead in because of the similar genre. I’m not an expert in TV statistics so you have to ask somebody at Nielsen if viewers stick around for similar shows.

1. Wikipedia article: Fringe partly inspired by X-Files; note that Bob Orci says it will be the characters that will differentiate the shows.


2. TrekMovie gets fooled by Season Six of Lost


@45. I agree that I would also have preferred that Lost Season 6 wrap up nicely some of the unknown elements like the smoke creature, etc. However, the whole point of the show was the journey (both physically and emotionally) of the main characters, and the mystery of what was going on, and so I was very satisfied on how (1) they wrapped up the personal journeys of the characters in the purgatory approach as you call it, and (2) they left some of the SF elements as a mystery still (to me that fit like a glove for closing the show). I can appreciate though that others may not feel the same way.

Historically, season finales to long-running series have not fared well with fans, who I think have unrealistic expectations… e.g. Mash, The Sopranos, Seinfeld.

JJ didn’t do that badly. Even though Undercovers will only get 13 episodes, it’s still a success: it made it through the pitch, into the pilot, and into a first season of production. Compared to all the ideas and pitches that don’t make it that far (probably 50 for every 1 series that makes it that far), this isn’t all that bad! It was certainly worth a shot for JJ and the network to give it a go.

It needed a bit more humor (a la I, Spy), a bit less faux suspense (which
wire do I cut!?!?), and a “catch”. But it was a good try. If he hasn’t already scripted and shot the last episode, perhaps he can do something nifty with it, like ‘transfer’ their characters and send them on a visit to Hawai’i!! They could be recurring on Five-0! :)

@46. Okay, agreed Seinfeld’s end was bizarrely disappointing, for a show about nothing, it sure ended un-nothingly. The Sopranos wasn’t all that crazy: more of an art-house ending.. insert your own option, I prefer a suitcase bomb went off, end of story. But M*A*S*H’s ending was all aces. Are you thinking of AfterMASH, perhaps?

@47. For my tastes, the Mash final movie event was too serious, and was missing the great humor of the original series.

47. Agreed about the M*A*S*H finale. In addition to being too serious, it was also at least half an hour too long, and Hawkeye’s breakdown just never rang true.

Expanding a bit on why Undercovers failed…

A lot of factors went into this.
The horrible advertising campaign (“more colorful”? wat.) .
The uneven mood (adventure/comedy?).
And the just plain uneven quality of the series, with a “meh” pilot.

Sorry to say, you can’t hook a large audience to a show with two black leads and be “outside of the box” (that is not a cheesy sitcom) unless the show is exceptional…That may work for Castle, but not for two unknown leads of color, no matter how talented they are. :(