Commentary

Handicapping The New Fall TV Season, With Some Curious Omissions

Bravo's broadband channel, Brilliant But Cancelled, is running a contest letting viewers predict which of the 24 new broadcast network shows will be cancelled this season. Bravo misses a bit here--what about cable, what about syndication?

Specifically the former. Why didn't Bravo include cable shows-- perhaps even some of its own shows--for its effort called, "Fall Season Death Watch 2006"? That would have been fun--and fair.

Perhaps it's because cable shows don't necessarily get cancelled--since cable networks like their reruns. By leaving out cable, Bravo executives are only pushing the position about cable's original programming efforts: in general, who needs it?

But that's not the case--not with Bravo's own "Project Runway," or TNT's "The Closer," or a host of other shows. But what about some of the lesser-known niche networks like HGTV, G4, or the Outdoor Channel? What about those new iffy daytime syndicated shows?

Perhaps those programs attract too narrow an audience. Obviously they don't have the mass appeal Bravo is looking for in a TV show.

As we all know, for every TV success, there are dozens of failures. Some indeed are "brilliant but cancelled." Others could be classified  as "mediocre but cancelled" or "sucked and cancelled" or "videotape trash and cancelled." These could be spinoff contests.

Of course the irony is that "Brilliant But Cancelled" was an effort originally started by Trio, a sister network of Bravo, both owned by NBC Universal. Sadly, Trio was, in effect, cancelled. Brilliant? That's open for debate.

There is an easier way to figure this out.  Nielsen has a way--it's called ratings. Find those shows with the lowest ratings. Even better, find those shows that yield even smaller ratings in their second episode or even more puny ratings in the third. This isn't as exciting as a Web contest. Just banal but cancelled.

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