When a freshman series gets suspended before completing its first semester, the odds aren't terrific that it will earn a passing grade for the year. But don't tell that to John Hensley, the up-and-comer who plays Gabriel Byrne's son on ABC's promising Madigan Men.
"I've heard we might come back in January or March" following the hiatus that begins after tonight's 9:30 ET broadcast, he tells TV Guide Online. "The show's got a lot of potential. Already we've done one or two episodes that I think would stand up against any sitcom.
"Considering that it's our first season," he adds, "that ain't bad."
Still, Hensley acknowledges that changes are in order, both on the soundstage and in the executive suite. "We're trying to find our legs," he says, adding that perhaps there is a better place on the schedule for the multi-generational program than Fridays historically, the domain of less sophisticated family fare. "That's certainly part of [our challenge] too."
At the same time, the alumnus of Comedy Central's Strangers with Candy believes that having a TGIF berth possibly saved Madigan Men from death. "If we were on a good night, maybe right off the bat we would have done great," he suggests. "But there would've been a much more scrutinizing eye from the network if we hadn't done so great. So being on Fridays has given us some leeway."
The fact that, even after it was announced that Madigan Men was being yanked, production continued this week lends credence to Hensley's theory. But the rising star who's already wrapped work on his first feature, the thriller Campfire Stories wasn't losing sleep over the show's fate, anyway.
"Ultimately, it doesn't matter what happens and I mean that in a positive way," he insists. "You can't hinge your emotional stability on things like that."