Quality Shows Cancelled: Welcome To The Fast-In, Fast-Out World Of TV Series

It's the time of year when veteran TV producers — with sagging or cancelled TV shows — are looking for a lifeline. Getting picked up by another network — or increasingly, from new OTT platforms.

Netflix, Amazon, Hulu? Are you listening?

Fox’s 3-year-old “Star” has been looking for a new home. But now, it’s over. "It ain't happening," Lee Daniels, the executive producer, announced in a video.

Others are hopeful. Another sagging show — ABC’s first-year “Whiskey Cavalier,” from executive producer Bill Lawrence — is looking to get another shot, especially after a noticeable ratings finale lift from ABC’s live Norman Lear’s “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” special event.

Two big stars from NBC’s “A.P. Bio,” a two-season show, now cancelled, are pitching the show’s efforts as well. In many cases, producers and performers tout their devoted viewers — something advertisers should desire.



With some 500 premium-scripted TV dramas and comedies out, we have been warned about a glut of TV content, with shows that have little room for error. One premise is that “quality” shows need time.

But building an audience slowly? Perhaps this isn’t really what is needed in the fast-moving premium digital media world. From an advertiser perspective — both the selling and buying side — there is a belief that all premium TV is undervalued.

John Landgraf, CEO, FX Networks, has always wondered how all these shows can be supported, especially by TV networks’ increasingly stressed marketing departments.

Are we are cycling through good TV shows quicker? Can TV programs survive for a shorter period of time? Two seasons, three-season runs? Many can’t get to four seasons — which in the past was enough (totaling around 100) to get you a big syndication deal on TV stations and/or cable networks.

While OTT is growing, however, some individual OTT platforms, like Netflix, are also going through TV series at a quicker pace — a one-, two- or three-season term. Netflix cancelled 16 TV series recently with runs of three seasons or less.

But now ask yourself about the next phase for TV producers — shows that originate on OTT. For example, which company will take on Sneaky Pete, now that it has been cancelled by Amazon Prime Video after three seasons?

Maybe the real TV selling is about to start.

1 comment about "Quality Shows Cancelled: Welcome To The Fast-In, Fast-Out World Of TV Series".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, June 6, 2019 at 12:02 p.m.

    The main problem with the demise of "quality" shows is that there is no intrinsic definition of quality. It's a stand-in word for "shows I personally like" or "shows that all my friends watch" which varies greatly from person to person. Audiences vote with their remote control. Sometimes they love shows that never win Emmys. Personally, I favor shows that don't make me wait a week for the next episode (or contain all those commercial interruptions).

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