With the entire nation mourning the FRIENDS finale in 2004, another long-running comedy silently said good-bye and never came back. After tickling our funny bones for nine long years, The Drew Carey Show said goodbye on September 8, 2004.
The Drew Carey Show was once deemed as one of ABC’s crown-jewels, with 17 million viewers in its 1996-1997 season. Then on, for three straight years, the show secured a place in Nielsen Media Research’s top 20. Set in Cleveland, Ohio, The Drew Carey Show is an American sitcom that aired on September 13, 1995. It is a blue-collar comedy, revolving around the home and office life of Drew Carey. So, how did the sunset on the perfectly happy picture? Sixteen years later comes a reboot, or at least a reunion? Let’s find out.
- The Drew Carey Show: An unexpected curtain call
- What dimmed the lights on this ABC crown-jewel
- A reboot or a reunion?
The Drew Carey Show: An unexpected curtain call
Created by actor Drew Carey and Roseanne writer Bruce Helford, The Drew Carey Show spanned across 233 episodes, starring Drew Carey, Diedrich Bader, Ryan Stiles, Christa Miller, Kathy Kinney, Craig Ferguson, John Carroll Lynch, Ian Gomez, Nan Martin, and Cynthia Watros.
The show’s popularity started fading in 2001, but the show-runners heaved a breath of relief when ABC finalised a deal with Warner Bros. Television, the show’s producers, to keep it on air till 2004. Protagonist Drew Carey also had another show on ABC called Whose Line Is It Anyway? Between him juggling both shows and the rapidly dwindling ratings, ABC suddenly took it off the air. This bothered the rest of the cast and crew, but Carey remained neutral.
“I don’t have anything bad to say about ABC,” said Carey. “I never will. I only tried to do a good show. After that, it’s out of my hands.”
What dimmed the lights on this ABC crown-jewel?
There are a lot of theories behind the sudden ending of The Drew Carey Show. Some blame it on ABC, while others blame the show itself.
Sam Simon, the director of the finale episode, believes it was a classic case of bad business decision-making on ABC’s part. “You can point to a lot of things that ABC did — they did a lot of things that were dumb, and I think this was one of them.”, said Simon, speaking to The Associated Press.
According to Simon, the show was essentially orphaned when the people who greenlit the show lost their jobs. “If the people who put the show on air at ABC were still there, we’d still be on air and we’d still be a hit”. Simon added, “It’s just an embarrassment to new regimes when other shows do better than the ones they put on the air.”
Considering the drastically falling ratings in season 8, ABC decided to end the contract with Warner Bros. and pull the plug on The Drew Carey Show. Unable to do so, ABC quickly wrapped up season 8 and decided to conclude the series with its ninth and final season in the summer of 2004. Sadly, the finale managed to garner a viewership of a little over five million, as compared to the 52.5 million watching the FRIENDS finale that very summer.
A reboot or a reunion?
As an easygoing Cleveland “everyman”, Drew Carey’s charm initially worked wonders for the show. That, along with the occasional parodies, dance numbers and animation, made The Drew Carey Show one of ABC’s creatively unpredictable, surprise hits.
On 11 October, 2019, the cast of American Housewife hosted a reunion for the cast of The Drew Carey Show, as part of their #CastfromthePast series. In the season 4, episode 3 promo of American Housewife, ABC announced, “Westport rocks as Drew Carey, Ryan Stiles and Kathy Kinney guest star in an episode that reunites them with Diedrich Bader.”
Bader, who played Oswald Lee Harvey on The Drew Carey Show, plays Greg Otto on American Housewife. In the reunion episode, Kathy Kinney plays the lunch lady at Anna-Kat’s school, Stiles plays Greg’s friend and fellow environmentalist Bill Doty, and Drew Carey plays someone that the school called to “put on a show highlighting the importance of recycling.”
Given the current pandemic, a reboot might seem like a far-fetched dream, but the surprise reunion of the cast on American Housewife after 15 years was surely a treat for all the fans. Then again, in the digital age of rampant reboots and renewals, nothing can be said for certain. One fine day, ABC might just take us by surprise and reboot The Drew Carey Show with the same cast and same plotline, just 16 years later.
When asked about a possible reboot, Drew Carey hopefully said, “I’d like to think it could [renew]. We are writers and are smart enough to change with time.”
Do you still hope for The Drew Carey Show renewal? Tell us in the comment section below!