Why Matt LeBlanc’s ‘Plan’ has expired

TV Pipeline

Matt LeBlanc

Q: I was sorry to hear that “Man With a Plan” has been canceled. Why was it? — Andrew Falls, via e-mail

A: The Matt LeBlanc sitcom had become a utility player for CBS, much like “2 Broke Girls” used to be … called back into the lineup when a space needed to be filled by a show that wasn’t working ratings-wise. The numbers for “Man With a Plan” had been steady over its four seasons, acceptable but not necessarily of a “blockbuster” level, and undoubtedly helped by LeBlanc’s residual star power from his “Friends” days.

Admittedly, the current television development season has been much different because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but CBS still has set a schedule of sorts for the next TV year — renewing the great majority of the shows it already has. It also is adding several series, including “Clarice” (about FBI agent Starling from “The Silence of the Lambs”) and a Queen Latifah-starring reboot of “The Equalizer,” so some things had to go to have the space for those. Not only did the cancellations include “Man With a Plan,” but also Patricia Heaton’s “Carol’s Second Act” and the recently started “Broke.”

“Downton Abbey”

Q: I was glad to see the “Downton Abbey” movie on HBO. Are there plans for another one? — Liz Cramer, via e-mail

A: We’ve gotten this question before, but now, there’s a updated answer. Producer Gareth Neame has said that he and the other principal creative forces, including creator and writer Julian Fellowes, are “totally committed” to making another “Downton” film if everyone can be brought back together for it.

Co-star Hugh Bonneville has told us what a “miracle” he considers it is that the first movie got made, since it was a matter of many schedules lining up so that the filming could happen. However, he added that during the press rounds for that picture, he and his fellow cast members were of a general consensus to do it again if possible. Fellowes (whose “Belgravia” has been unveiled by EPIX) is supposed to have a script ready within the next year, though he’s also working on the upcoming HBO series “The Gilded Age,” so time will tell.

Q: Will “Saturday Night Live” continue to do at-home episodes when it returns this fall? — John Prince, Attleboro, Mass.

A: Presuming that fall is when the NBC show’s 46th season will begin, it’s possible, depending on the state of the world and its health then — at least in New York, if not everywhere. There are many questions as to what broadcast television will look like come September, and the number of questions increases in the case of a program as sketch- and set-dependent as “SNL.”

The good news, though, is that the show already has proven to itself and to others that it can be done. Having staged three “at-home” episodes, including the 45th-season finale earlier this month, the mechanism (which also is literal, in regard to the camera equipment installed at cast members’ residences) already is in place for “SNL” to do it again should it become necessary.

Q: Though “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is supposed to end this summer, is there a chance that it might get renewed because ABC doesn’t have enough other shows ready? — Steven Moore, Rutherford, N.J.

A: We hate to say a definitive “No” about anything, since experience has shown that you just never know, but we’d have to surmise that this one is highly unlikely. For one thing, the series’ conclusion was filmed some time ago; the concluding season airing this summer was made at the same time as the season that ran last year.

The cast members have been on their respective post-”S.H.I.E.L.D.” paths for a while, then … and since contracts would have to be renegotiated, it likely would be quite costly to unite them again. Also, the show’s expensive sets (such as the team’s spacecraft) probably have been struck, and reconstructing those would have to happen at a considerable price. In other words, more factors would seem to be against a ”S.H.I.E.L.D.” reprieve than for it.

Send questions of general interest via email to tvpipeline@gracenote.com.
Writers must include their names, cities and states.
Personal replies cannot be sent.
Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

jbobbin has 2331 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Pin It on Pinterest