NBC Cancels Love Bites: Have TV Viewers Officially Broken Up with Anthology Series?

The final episode of Love Bites will air this Thursday, at 10/9c, thus completing the midseason series’ run… forever, an NBC spokesperson has told The Hollywood Reporter.

That NBC is pulling the plug on the romantic-comedy anthology series comes as almost no surprise, given the relentless crucible it endured to even make it on air, to then only muster the slightest of ratings. (Series lead Becki Newton, though, adopted an “anything can happen” attitude about renewal when we spoke to her at the time of the oft-delayed premiere.)

But I’m wondering if this confirms that anthology series as a whole — a format in which a variety of guest stars parade through a world populated by a few recurring, touchstone characters — is simply not feasible anymore.

When I was growing up you had Love, American Style (which Love Bites was occasionally likened to), Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Supertrain (groan), Hotel…. And based on reader comments I’ve seen here on TVLine, there are a bunch of you who enjoyed not knowing who’d pop up on the NBC show on a given week. Will it be Psych‘s James Roday? Good Morning, Miami cutie Ashley Williams? SNL alum Chris Parnell? That new gal from Switched at Birth, or film vet Beau Bridges? Cristian de la Fuente (In Plain Sight), Eddie McClintock (Warehouse 13) or Adam Baldwin (Chuck)?

There is always something fun — probably for the actors, too — about seeing a familiar face “moonlight” in a different role. But maybe the very premise of an anthology series denies today’s demanding viewer the continuity they need, to tune in week after week. Or maybe Love Bites simply fell short, creatively?

Do you think TV will ever provide safe harbor for another Love Boat?

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76 Comments
  1. fernando says:

    I loved the show but I think if it air in the fall or midseason (Jan. or March), it would have made it, but snice so much happen to this show it air super super late,it was on the summer and cable shows rule summer time not the big four, and then it was on at 10/9pm it all just failed and Im sure NBC wanted it to fail.

  2. E says:

    I loved it! Reminded me of “undressed” from MTV. The vignettes were adorable. The guest stars were great! I’m sorry that it’s been canceled.

  3. Dan says:

    I thought it was a fun summer show, and am sad it is done. But to be fair, even the most basic television viewer knows that a summer network run (especially on NBC) means “burning it off”. So most people won’t even start watching it knowing it won’t go anywhere.

    • Linda says:

      I totally agree with you Dan. I watched The Gates and Scoundrels last summer and before that it was Persons Unknown. I loved all three shows and was disappointed all of them were cancelled. This year I decided to stay away from the summer shows. That, and I thought that there was way too much hype about Love Bites even with all the scheduling changes. Usually when there’s a lot of hype about a show, it fails dismally.

    • CarolH says:

      I love the show but have to say that since it was well known before it started that the show had been cancelled and they were just doing as Dan said…Burning It Off….most people would not have even started to watch it…what a shame…I thought it was a lot of fun and would have liked to have it continue.

  4. el says:

    The whole, It’s on!/No it’s not, It stars these people!/No it doesn’t thing probably had more to do with things then it’s format.

    I really liked the preview ages ago, but I lost interest when Jordana got booted.

    Nobody kills it’s own shows more handily then NBC though.

  5. Jill says:

    I like the idea of an anthology series, but the writing in this show was majorly inconsistent. The only ones I actually liked were the ones with Becki Newton, which means that all the writing was bad, and Becki Newton is just amazing.

    • K says:

      i agree! I liked the show the first 2 episodes but by the 3rd it went downhill fast! It was a great concept but unfortunately couldn’t execute it well enough

      • lauren says:

        Agreed. That’s exactly how long I lasted on the “Love Bites” train. Two episodes where Becki Newton took center stage had me interested, but then it fell off really fast.

    • Jessie says:

      The ones with Greg Grunberg and Constance Zimmer were usually pretty good too, I would’ve enjoyed a half an hour series with them and Becki Newton as the main stars

  6. abc123 says:

    Actually, the season (now series) finale airs next Thursday. There’s two more episodes to go.

    I hope there will be another anthology series coming our way in the future but Love Bites wasn’t that strong creatively, plus it has been delayed so many times it never stood a chance. Also, Becki Newton, the series’ main draw, was absent for a number of episodes and none of the stories she appeared on actually involved HER, she was always the supporting character. Should have shelved the series for 2011-2012 as soon as they found out Newton was pregnant. Oh well, better luck next time…

    • Danielle H. says:

      They touted the show as having her at the forefront, and Matt is in it WAY more then her. I really enjoyed it though; a very cute little show.

    • Fido says:

      Exactly. When the show was first announced with Becki Newton as the main character, I was all excited. Then the ptb decided to deal wth her pregnancy by delaying the series. But they didn’t delay it long enough for her to have the baby. Thus her main character role turned into a bit part or a not-even there part. So from all excited I quickly went to big disappointment. Oh well, and the pilot preview looked so promising. Another case of inept handling (by the ptb) of a main star’s pregnancy ruining the potential of a show.

      • abc123 says:

        …not to mention that My Boys was history by the end of September, which means that they could have gotten Jordana Spiro back and kept the original premise. Becki had her baby in November, which means the production could have resumed in January and the show could have been on the air by March, when most mid-season shows start anyway. This was just an all around missed opportunity.

  7. Sarah says:

    I’m so sad, but at the same time I knew this was going to happen. Love Bites had a great premise but a crappy network that handled it terribly. I honestly can’t think of any show I watch on NBC at this point besides Parks and Rec, and that show is also handled terribly. What is wrong NBC? Get it together.

    • lauren says:

      THANK YOU! I am vowing to not watch a new series on NBC until they prove to me that they have gotten their act together. I’m already too invested in The Office and 30 Rock to quit now, but no new shows for me! I tried with The Event, and I just got burned, so that’s it. NBC just doesn’t give anything a chance, and they screw up any show that actually works. Done.

      • peachez says:

        So agree with you Lauren. I’ve stopped watching any new shows by the network. I almost sabotaged myself, because I was neglecting The Protector because I thought it was one of the networks, but it’s actually on Lifetime. The list is too long to display the shows recently cut by all the networks, and I’ve decided to stick to the cable shows: AMC, TnT, USA, HBO etc. At least they try. I’m watching shows online now and watch the first ep to see if I like it. I decided to watch Chaos yesterday as I saw it had about 5 eps, only to read yesterday as well that it either was cut or is being cut. These networks (NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox), especially the first two, annoy me no end. I miss all my favorites: Lie to Me, Human Target, Detroit 187, The Chicago Code, Chase, The Defenders, The Other Guys, Law & Order: La and I could go on and on and on. I’m done too.

  8. amadeline says:

    I love this show and would gladly continue watching it. It’s always fun and interesting. I love that it’s not deadly serious and that no one gets murdered! It’s certainly been given a bum rap by the network – bad/no promotion, late start and now a quick ending. It really deserves a better chance. I sure don’t need another reality show instead!

  9. Ruby says:

    That’s really too bad. I really loved this show and looked forward to it each week. Grunberg deserves a show that is worthy of him that will stick around.

  10. ThereasonsY says:

    The anthology isn’t dead I mean look at all the crime shows – they do the same guest star of the week. What’s dead is viewers investing in shows that they deem cannon fodder by the net works. NBC was clearly not behind this show which is why i didn’t get invested enough to even sample even though I love the cast. I just don’t have it in me to fall in love with another uphill battle show. I mean where did my Jerichos, Veronica Mars, Eli Stone, and Pushing Daises leave me except in heart break hotel.

  11. jake says:

    If the network had no faith in it, why should viewers? It didn’t do that badly — it aired after repeats, what were they expecting? If they really wanted to give this show a show, they should have aired it after america’s got talent.

  12. MelindaB says:

    I enjoyed the show, but I’m not surprised that it was canceled–in fact, I would have been surprised to hear that NBC was giving it another season, considering the delays that pushed it to summer (kind of like Persons Unknown last year.) I did think that last week’s episode would have been a good one to end on, with Annie giving birth. It was fun spotting actors from other shows, and I’m glad that I gave it my time this summer.

  13. Nonya says:

    I loved the concept but never warmed to this show. It was more about sex than love. I wanted more sweet stories. And oddly enough, a few “has beens” (or what I prefer to call “old friends”) would have been nice. I don’t blame the actors since I thought they were great. I don’t even blame the network since the ratings weren’t there. I blame the writers and showrunners for thinking sex is all they need to make a story. I don’t mind some sex (ahem), but some more depth to the romance would have been welcomed.

  14. swthompson says:

    There’s a fine line between authentic anthology shows and shows that basically use a repertory company to bookend the premise. Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock– even One Step Beyond and Boris Karloff’s Thriller basically just used different stories every week. Shows like Hotel and to a much lesser extent Love Boat caused you to have an investment in the regular characters regardless of how weak the stories were– in effect, not that much different than regular episodic television.

  15. Legna says:

    Sad to see it go. Really liked episode #8.

  16. matt says:

    I love Becki Newton and found her to be adorable. I wondered why she was missing through most of the show after the initial first few episodes. I was fast-forwarding to her part. She is a gem!

  17. DebbieLG says:

    This show really grew on me. Loved the format. Glad they aired the episodes – enjoyed it while it lasted.

  18. Captain says:

    I think that’s the exact problem, there’s nothing “must-see” about an anthology series because it’s different every week and wrapped up in a bow at the end of each hour. There’s little character development because the episodes are mainly plot-based and your never going to be blown away by a cliffhanger so there’s little that forces you to watch each week. I enjoyed it when I watched it but I missed 3 or 4 weeks of it and it didn’t bother me. I’d probably never choose Love Bites over a serial drama that I have to watch each episode of because I can always DVR it or skip a week and I wont be lost.

  19. Jaimie says:

    I’m very sad to hear that they are canceling this show. As someone else on here posted it reminded me of Mtv’s undressed only which better production and acting quality. I don’t really believe it was given a chance. I had been wanting to see it since reading about it a very long time ago and didn’t know it had finally aired until I was skimming through the ondemand menu one night. They could have done a much better job at getting the word out about this charming show.

  20. Summer says:

    It was such a wonderful little show. I’m really going to miss it. Also – that new girl from Switched at Birth? She was Luke’s bio-daughter on Gilmore Girls.

  21. auntiekim says:

    Husband and I are bummed this has been canceled. We
    loved it. Funny, sweet, loved the format and the
    characters, both regular and guest stars. This really
    bums me out.

  22. jeana says:

    We loved the show. Ages 14 to 60 in our family and we all loved it. Very typical of NBC to cancel a good show that smart and funny. I’m sure they will just replace it with another brainless reality show.

  23. DJ Doena says:

    I really liked the show and enjoyed watching all these short stories. TV life can’t always be about a never-ending arc with secrets piled upon on secrets.

  24. LV says:

    I loved this show! it was original and clever and heartwarming. A real shame that NBC lost interest in it.

  25. Sam says:

    This show lost it’s way the minute Jordana Spiro was recasted and then the plotline changed. The first eps were enjoyed, then Grunberg took over as the main lead instead of Becki and that was a mistake. I honestly think that Grunberg’s storylines with the wife were the most boring aspects of the show. I like the guy but he just wasn’t bringing it in this show.

    This poor show was so promising last year in May at the upfronts and then it sunk like a stone. Either way, atleast NBC tried. For that much, we should be greatful.

  26. Bobbi says:

    I love Becki Newton and wanted so badly to like this show. But, I thought it was horrible. It isn’t a surprise to me that it didn’t make it.

  27. Rhonda says:

    I had heard somewhere that it was going to be a one-shot deal, so while I’m disappointed (I love the show), I’m not surprised.

    I am sad to see no love for Constance Zimmer though, I have adored her ever since I first saw her on Joan of Arcadia and was so happy to see her here -

  28. Craig S says:

    Isn’t Louie on FX pretty much an anthology series?

  29. Ashleigh says:

    Wow, I was really really really looking forward to this show, yet I had no idea it was on the air. I definitely would have watched it if I had known.

  30. TimC says:

    So sad and such a missed opportunity for NBC. This could have stood up on any night at 9 or 10 (EST) and would have been a nice counter to the re-tread CBS procedurals that all seem to be blending into irrelevence. Nice concept with witty stories and surprises every week. The only problem I saw is that with all of the guest stars, you really only got to know one or two characters in any meaningful way. Definite missed opportunity that NBC squandered in the middle of summer.

  31. Eric says:

    Whenever actresses have children during production, it almost always ruins the show. Like 90% of the time. It forces writers into a corner they never planned for (and is usually a boring one) because pregnancy is a long (and in its latter stages obvious & laborious) process. They have to adjust every single thing for the show to fit that in, and it constantly feels like the show is breaking the fourth wall, which is terrible if it isn’t intended.

    The only successful use of a real-life pregnancy that I can think of is last season on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

    • Lauren says:

      Take a look back at How I Met Your Mother. Both of the female stars (Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders) have been pregnant in real life, but not on the show. In fact, for awhile they were BOTH pregnant. Neither pregnancy was written into the script. It’s amazing what flowy shirts, dark colors, giant purses and camera angles can hide!

  32. Guy Gardner says:

    I loved this show, but NBC had absolutely no faith in it

    Hell…I caught the first episode entirely by chance since there was no advertisement for it (and never any afterwards either)…I was watching a rerun of 30 Rock and then Love Bites came on

    and if not for tvline, I would have never watched it, since this site has been talking about this show for such a long time

  33. Katy says:

    Such a shame! I was really enjoying this; a nice summer series. Don’t think it would make it in the Fall though; fun but not overwhelming.

  34. ScottB says:

    Becki Newton was great. Jennifer Love Hewitt was funny. A few other storylines were ok. but most of them were completely uninteresting. Greg Grunberg became the star of the show, which is not a good thing. His storyline was horrible, especially when they brought in Stifler to hang out with him.

  35. whitneylu says:

    I’m sad its cancelled, but not surprised since it was put in the summer to begin with. Unless people are invested in cable shows, I just don’t think they watch new shows. I liked the all the random guest stars every week and really enjoyed seeing Becki Newton and Constance Zimmer on TV every week.

  36. Kristi says:

    I am not surprised by the cancellation, but I am sad. I really enjoyed this show every single week. It had some great laugh-out-loud moments and I loved to see some of my favorite actors make guest appearances, especially Chris Gorham in last week’s episode. Plus Becki Newton was just great; I loved her storyline! But NBS has a history of canceling shows I love, so I blame them for poor timing and poor promotion.

    • Mandy says:

      Chris Gorham was my favorite of all the guest stars. Seeing him with Becki Newton reminded me of Ugly Betty! He was totally charming on Love Bites.
      Another storyline I liked was with Ashley Williams (Victoria from How I Met Your Mother) she is always fun.

  37. Mandy says:

    I really liked this show, but I feel like it is my total love of both Greg Grumberg and Becki Newton that kept me coming back every week. It was fun seeing who would pop up and how they would be intertwined in the lives of our three main characters or how the stories would connect.
    With it being an anthology style, it probably didn’t seem like must-see TV every week. And its treatment by the network didn’t help.
    I guess I will just have to look forward to Grumberg and Newton’s next projects and hope those are winners so I can see them every week.

  38. Crstna says:

    I’m disappointed, I loved this show. The fault lies in the marketing, it was completely marketed wrong, it was not Love Boat or Love American Style, it was Love Actually. All of the characters were related somehow, that was not true for the old 70s/80s shows. Very poor marketing.

  39. Joanne says:

    I don’t think the anthology format was the issue… It was more of the themes and stories; they were handled in a manner that came across as either silly or trashy. I watched two episodes and could not make it through the third.

  40. April Fool says:

    I didn’t even know the show was on. I’d be open to the format, but I have to know the show is airing in the first place. I wonder if the ratings were also poor b/c of the summer. Networks seem to give up too easily on shows these days — unless it looks really good, I tend to wait to see if it stay on the air past the first month or so before bothering to try.

  41. Emily says:

    Well, I thought it was a pleasant surprise.
    Even the husband watched it, and this DEFINITELY isn’t his ‘thing’.
    I especially liked Greg Gunberg and Constance Zimmer’s characters…they could have their own show.
    I actually thought it got better as it went along, and that Becky Newton (who was my initial reason for wanting to watch it) was one of the most disappointing parts. She was good, but the character could’ve been written so much better.
    Also liked the James Roday episode, and the general ‘tune-in-to-see-who’s-on-the-show-this-week’ vibe…

  42. bmo says:

    the concept can work. For this show, the drama with the EP leaving casted a dark cloud over the show from NBC’s view. If the right people were in involved @ the top and the right network was involved, it could work. Everything is recycled now a days so why can’t this work.

  43. adam says:

    new girl from switched at birth is actually vanessa marano, who recurred heavily in without a trace as jack malone(anthony lapaglia’s daughter), gilmore girls as lukes daughter, she was also in the comeback, dexter and the short lived scoundrels. not really a new girl.

  44. Mark It Right says:

    This was such a good show! It had such heart. I laughed so many times. The pot episode was hysterical. They killed it with out ever giving it a chance.
    N- Nothing
    B- But
    C- Cancellations

  45. miso says:

    it took me a few episodes to get into the show but I enjoyed it a lot. I loved see the guest stars and connecting the dots as to how they’re connected to the main characters. I wasn’t hooked onto the show, but it was a fun breezy show. Wish they gave it another shot in a nonsummer time slot

  46. Taylor says:

    I loved this show! I love the concept of rotating guest stars. The whole premise of an anthology series is amazing, and really reminded me of Love Actually.

  47. tvstalker says:

    I loved, loved, loved this show! It was refreshing and different. As much as I love a cop or lab show, it was a nice change of pace. I absolutely adore Beckie Newton, and it was fun to see her as a great, friendly sweet character (how I imagine her to be off screen). It’s such a shame that with movies and tv and even music, that nothing is original anymore, it’s always sequel this and sample that and copy what the other 2 networks do. I want Annie and Matt together! BRING BACK THIS SHOW!

  48. MindyC says:

    It never fails, anytime there is a new original idea on tv the networks will kill it. Let’s have more reality tv, NOT. This was a great show. I loved the idea and how the little mini episodes would intertwine. Great cast and awesome guest cast. Why do they keep killing my favorite shows!!!!

  49. madsters says:

    Figures. I only just found this show on the very last episode, and I couldn’t stop watching it! It was great and I thought “yay” I finally found some good network TV to watch again … then I come here to catch up on the episodes and what do I find?

    :(

    Baaaaad move, NBD (D=dumb) But isn’t this what you usually do with anything good?

  50. Terry H says:

    I, too, love this show. I guess times have changed and most people are so into reality TV that shows like this don’t get the same ratings. I feel I am in the minority here because I don’t watch reality TV, so when a show like this comes along it’s only a matter of time before it gets cancelled. It almost makes you not want to get invested in a new series.

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