Q: Why Do All The Good Shows Get Cancelled?

21 Feb

I’ve asked people on Twitter to suggest a topic for me to discuss on here and this is the first one! (Her question referred to shows such as Arrested Development, My Name is Earl, etc.)

That’s a really good question actually and I think it comes down to one thing: ratings.  Shows CANNOT make money off of tv shows that are not bringing in viewers.  Advertisers are not going to dole out money for commercials for a time slot that doesn’t have enough traffic coming through.  For example, look at the Super Bowl.  This past year, the going rate for ads were in the 2.8 million dollar range.  Super Bowl Sunday is the most watched TV day of the year and advertisers know it!  Even when shows such as Friends ended, the cost to air a commercial went up for their last show, knowing that it would be a highly watched program.

 Take your example of Arrested Development, which was artistically and critically praised and had a stellar cast (Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Will Arnet, Michael Cera, David Cross).  It was on FOX, on Sunday nights if I’m not mistaken, but did not bring in nearly as many viewers as shows in the same time slot on other networks.

The network higher-ups are so much quicker to pull a show that is not bringing in the numbers, hoping that they can replace it with one that can.  In the last decade or so, networks seem to have ants in their pants if a show isn’t successful right out of the gate.  There have been numerous shows in the last few years that have been yanked after only one episode.  ONE EPISODE!  (ex. NBC’s Quarterlife, FOX’s Osbournes: Reloaded)

Fans, like yourself, become outraged when a show they like/love gets pulled from the schedule.   Most shows that have been on between 1-3 seasons and get taken off the air usually have a cult following as far as the fans go.  Arrested Development is a perfect example of that.  The show ended in 2006, but the popularity of the show and cast has never stopped.  It has remained so popular that they are making it into a movie!  Fan’s voices are important, even if things may not always work out that well.

There are some websites that even have “save a show” campaigns.  Eonline is an example of that.  Their TV diva, Kristin Dos Santos, has a blog specifically dedicated to TV shows and fans .  She gets imput from her readers and promotes ways to help fans save their favorite shows.  CBS’s Jericho is an example of how the dedication of the fans helped to save the show.  They sent an enormous amount of peanuts to the head honchos (apparently peanuts had significance to the show) and the show ended up coming back for another season.

The system is not perfect by any means; sometimes all the cards just need to be in a row and have a little luck on their side.

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2 Responses to “Q: Why Do All The Good Shows Get Cancelled?”

  1. chyt February 23, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    I think an important fact to mention when discussing why shows are cancelled and how quickly it happens lately, is the bad economy. Okay, so that seems to be the excuse for everything recently and I’m sick of hearing it too, especially being an unemployed person in the television industry myself. However, in this case, as in many it applies, because the advertising dollars have moved from cold hard cash to a barter system. Even prime-time shows are being affected and there is no more proof than the amount of product placement ads you see in all your favorite shows. Times have changed from the days of seeing rip off brands of our favorite products and/or having their tell tale logos blurred out!

    • Carrie February 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

      I completely agree. It all comes down to money, money, money. Sometimes people think that Hollywood is not affected by the downturn in the economy, but that’s just not true. For example, look at indie movies. Traditionally, they are harder to get made because they don’t make the kind of money that a big budget film, with marquee name stars, do. But with the economy, it’s even harder to get those types of films financed.

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