Saturday, August 13, 2022

‘Social TV’ Has Network Bosses Nervous to Cancel Failing Shows

Meagan Good - Minority Report (FOX)
Meagan Good – Minority Report (FOX)

*Something quite unusual is happening in Hollywood – despite the lackluster ratings of shows such as Fox’s “Minority Report,” ABC’s nighttime soap “Blood & Oil,” as well as NBC’s crime drama “The Player” and its comedy “Truth Be Told,” none of these shows are getting cancelled.

As the LA Times reports, it wasn’t that long ago when these shows would have been axed, but as of now, all are still on schedule, as is every other network show that debuted this fall.

In addition to networks holding out for hope with their fizzling series’ – industry insiders have also noted that there’s not one new show slated to air or even replace the titles mentioned above, something that industry watchers say hasn’t happened since the early 1950s.

In this modern era, it is very unlikely for one program to get an order of 26 episodes. Orders are usually five to 10 to a dozen episodes. – Joe Saltzman, professor at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

With technology and the Internet continually recalibrating the world of TV, putting viewers in control of what they watch, when and how – essentially creating what has been dubbed “Social television” – network executives are reluctant to kill a program that may be gaining traction with an audience that’s not being counted by traditional ratings. Additionally, TV bosses fear streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Yahoo will quickly snatch up its castoffs and then profit from them. For example, after NBC canceled its comedy “Community” in 2014, Yahoo picked it up, and Hulu picked up Fox’s canceled sitcom “The Mindy Project” earlier this year.

Studio executives are “being really careful how they’re talking about shows that aren’t performing that well in the fall because they don’t want to cut their nose off to spite their face,” said Tom Nunan, a TV and film producer and former executive who now teaches at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

“They may actually have a real gem that was just on the wrong network, scheduled on the wrong day and wasn’t marketed properly that might actually have a life somewhere else if they’re thoughtful about it,” he said.

Instead of cancelling shows that return low numbers in viewership, network executives have developed a new strategy. They have decided to simply cut the number of episodes of a series, which is the case with “Minority Report,” “The Player,” “Blood & Oil” and “Truth Be Told.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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