It wouldn't be a Rules of Engagement season without more bumps in the road.
Just when things were looking up for the sitcom — moving to Thursdays after being scheduled on Saturdays — it was dealt a blow this week: CBS will pull it off the schedule at midseason to make way for Rob Schneider's new comedy and has cut its episode order down to 15.
The news is just another chapter in the topsy-turvy life of the show, which has been shuffled around the schedule since its midseason premiere in 2007, and it comes as no surprise to star Patrick Warburton.
"If they're going to pull one show for midseason, they're going to pull us. They've done that every single year," he tells TVGuide.com. "They're not going to pull a Chuck Lorre show. He's so firmly established and he's got a huge success ratio with them. ... They haven't supported us from the very beginning. Whenever we end up in a decent time slot, we always do well, but they've never given us any support."
After Rules bailed CBS out twice last year — when $#*! My Dad Says got axed and when Charlie Sheen's antics forced Rules to produce extra episodes to compensate for Two and a Half Men's shortened season — the network exiled it to Saturdays this season, which Warburton called a "sh-- time slot." It was bumped up to Thursdays before its scheduled premiere when How to Be a Gentleman got canceled, and it continues to pull in solid ratings, averaging about 11 million viewers.
"[The Saturday slot] was bullsh-- from the very beginning. I couldn't believe it," Warburton says. "The only reason we ended up in the Thursday slot was because another show was tanking and they were desperately in need of us. It's been a real rocky road for the show. The first season, we only did seven episodes. ... At that point, they wished they had more episodes. We got a full season the next year and it was the writers' strike. I also felt like the writing was a little bumpy then. We weren't consistent either. And then it was back to midseason. We've gotten a raw end of the deal an awful lot, but that's just the way the ball bounces."