EXCLUSIVE: Comedy Central UK Abandons Plans To Acquire CBS Comedy ‘We Are Men’

We Are Men (FT)

Comedy Central UK has abandoned plans to acquire the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to the CBS comedy series We Are Men from international distributor CBS Studios International, TVWise can reveal.

Created by Rob Greenberg, We Are Men follows four single guys living in a short-term apartment complex who unexpectedly find camaraderie through their many missteps in love. The comedy series was produced by CBS Television Studios and starred Chris Smith, Tony Shalhoub, Jerry O’Connell and Kal Penn.

We Are Men was one of the standouts at the 2013 LA Screenings and generally impressed international buyers, but it struggled to find an audience on CBS in the States. The series premiered to a 6.4 million viewers and a 2.0 rating in the 18-49 demo, before slipping to 5.4 million viewers and a 1.8 18-49 demo rating in week 2, which prompted CBS to cancel We Are Men.

The comedy series was, however, one of the first series of the 2013-2014 season to land a UK sale, with Comedy Central UK announcing they had picked it up, alongside fellow CBS comedy The Millers, in September 2013, ahead of the show’s cancellation state-side. At the time, CBS Studios International’s Stephen Tague said “We Are Men and The Millers will provide Comedy Central UK’s audience with award-winning casts and CBS’s customary high quality production values.”

TVWise understands that four episodes were produced, with CBS only airing the first two in the US before pulling We Are Men from the schedule. It was following the cancelation that executives at Comedy Central decided to reverse course and back out of the previously announced deal for the comedy. A representative of Comedy Central UK confirmed the decision to TVWise in the following statement: “Comedy Central UK will no longer be acquiring ‘We Are Men’ following the announcement that the show has been cancelled by CBS.”

This marks the second time in the past year that a UK broadcaster has abandoned a deal with an international distributor to acquire a high profile US series after it was cancelled by the originating US network. The same thing happened last October when Fox cancelled their Gavin & Stacey remake  Us & Them after only 7 episodes, prompting Channel 5 to back away from a deal with Sony Pictures Television.

Despite the decision not to acquire We Are Men, Comedy Central UK is still a very active player when it comes to first run US content. The channel is the exclusive UK home to such series as Two And A Half Men, Mike & Molly, The Millers and The Middle, all of which are expected to return for their new seasons in 2015. The broadcaster also acquired the (now cancelled) comedy series Friends With Better Lives this past season and are expected to pick up at least one show out of the LA Screenings.