So, The Beautiful Life was the first new show to bite the dust, Trauma the second, and now ABC has announced they won’t buy any more episodes of Eastwick. Last week it pulled in a 18-49 demo rating of 1.6, with a 4 share. Hank‘s been getting similar or worse ratings, so look for it to go next, but the forgotten got an order for another 5 episodes.
Those inclined to strict religious beliefs may have found Eastwick unholy and Godforsaken. I agree, albeit from a secular standpoint. So I say good riddance. Stars Hollow set, you must now find new residents.
(disclaimer: I enjoy my anti-fandoms, yes, but if you were a fan, I mean you no ill. I’m sorry for your loss, and I don’t voice my opinion with any sense that it’s scripture … but I still think the show was pretty horrific)Tags: ABC, cancellations, Eastwick
Tv By the Numbers just updated their Cancel/Renew Index for scripted shows (note: no reality, sports, news, or Jay), which divides a show’s demo ratings by its network’s average ratings to get a sense of how it’s performing relative to its colleagues. Go read, but some highlights:
- Most at risk are Til Death with an anemic 0.28, Brothers at 0.31, and Dollhouse at 0.33. All are FOX shows, so you gotta figure they’ll kill off the first two in time for the American Idolization of TV in January (if not earlier), and though FOX announced that it will play all 13 episodes of Dollhouse, you gotta figure that’s it.
- NBC’s worst performing show is Law and Order, at 0.48. Its worst new show is Trauma at 0.72
- CBS’s worst performing show is Numb3rs (which, like L&O is on Friday, so surely it has a little extra slack) at 0.54. Close behind is its newbie struggler, Three Rivers at 0.58
- ABC’s worst performing show is Hank at 0.64
- The CW’s bottom-feeder is (what else?) Melrose Place at 0.80
- The best performing new show? The CW’s Vampire Diaries at 1.65, though FOX’s The Cleveland Show is also doing very well at 1.52
- The best show overall is ABC’s Desperate Housewives at a whopping 2.09
As the dust from the Upfronts settles, and looking at what got canceled this year, I’m inclined first to divide the shows into four categories – those that I liked, those that I don’t particularly care one way or the other about, those that I’m actively glad to see go, and those that I simply didn’t know existed or never watched so I can’t pass judgment. Here’s the lists, then some comments:
Those I Liked
- Those whose time had probably come: ER
- Those whose time had not come, and that I’m pissed to see go: Boston Legal, My Name is Earl, Pushing Daisies
- Those that I watched occasionally, enjoyed when I did, but am not choked to see go: Reaper, Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, Without a Trace
Those I’m Indifferent About
Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, Everybody Hates Chris, The Game, Harper’s Island, Hole in the Wall, Life, Life on Mars, My Own Worst Enemy, The Unit, The Unusuals
Those I’m Happy to See Leave My Television
- According to Jim (about as funny as hardwood)
- Deal or No Deal (women on show with cases and contestants who don’t understand math)
- Do Not Disturb (some promise, but more stereotypes and stupidity than promise, alas)
- The Ex List (I was prepared to dislike it, but it was ultimately more incompetent than annoying)
- Howie Do It (So. Very. Very. Painfully. Unfunny)
- Kath and Kim (if I had to torture someone, I’d make them watch this, Clockwork Orange style. Even Cheney would agree that constitutes bona fide torture)
- Knight Rider (who knew I’d miss David Hasselhoff? It was that bad)
- Lipstick Jungle (I never really liked Sex and the City, so why would I like its poor rip-off?)
- Prison Break (come on, how many prisons does a guy break out of in one lifetime?!)
- Samantha Who? (vile)
Those I Never Really Knew
4Real, 13: Fear is Real, America’s Toughest Jobs, The Chopping Block, Crusoe, Cupid, Easy Money, The Eleventh Hour, Game Show in My Head, Homeland Security USA, In Harm’s Way, In the Motherhood, Kings, Momma’s Boys, Opportunity Knocks, The Osbournes: Reloaded, Privileged, Secret Millionaire, Sit Down Shut Up, Superstars of Dance, Valentine
Dividing them up into lists like this makes me realize how much on television I simply don’t watch. And I watch quite a lot of television. As a television researcher and instructor, I try to make it my business to watch a lot of stuff, even if I’m not liking it, just so that I have a sense of what’s out there. So I’d guess that I watch a more diverse list of shows than do many viewers. Yet not only were there a lot of cancellations of shows that I didn’t watch, but some of them I’ve never even heard of. It’s worth bearing in mind when the news covers the inevitable “Save ____” campaigns that many of us simply don’t know about much of what’s on television, and thus don’t care about lots of cancellations.
I think here of a neat essay by Ien Ang called “In the Realm of Uncertainty” (included in Living Room Wars) in which she argues that much communication fails, and is characterized by a considerable amount of chaos. Amidst excited discussions of social networking sites and Web 2.0 allowing us to share everything with people, and even amidst some critics’ reminders that such sites can be hijacked by corporate PR efforts, we’re often invited to think of today’s media consumer as well-informed, and of the system as working well. But is it really? Yes, large amounts of information might be at our finger tips if we went looking for it, but our media consumption is still characterized by a lot of happenstance and chaos. Many shows not only pass us by, but pass us by unnoticed.
Thinking about my own beloved texts gives clear evidence of how elusive much media is. I discovered The Wire prior to Season 4’s broadcast, and I hadn’t even heard of it until Season 3 had begun. I came late to The West Wing. And to Buffy. Even The Simpsons took me a few seasons to discover. And those are all on major channels. Add to the mix shows on lesser-known cable channels, and there are literally hundreds of shows at any given time that might be great, but that I’m not hearing about. It’s not just me, either, of course – I’m used to hearing fellow television fans give voice to considerable anxiety, about not having time to watch everything they want to watch, and about possibly missing out on a great, yet unknown show.
It’s par for course to complain about the over-hyping of things (witness the recent omnipresence of Will Ferrell, prior to the release of Land of the Lost), but let’s not make the mistake of assuming that pervasive hype is necessarily successful in getting the word about shows out. How could either the television industry or fans better circulate information about shows? Of course, I don’t want to make the mistake of assuming that all canceled, unknown shows were worth saving, but nor should we assume that they were all worth canceling. This year is no different from others, with many cancellations, so how could the industry, writers, critics, and/or fans try to improve our information center and improve how we hear about shows, rather than simply hope that next year the viewing public will all discover all the shows we love, and nothing we dislike will ever be canceled again?Tags: cancellations, upfronts