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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