Here's Why Networks Cancel Great Shows, And It's Disappointingly Predictable

I'm not angry, just disappointed...

It never feels fair when your favourite shows get cancelled, but sometimes, you might wonder if it even makes financial sense for the studios to stop making a beloved TV series.

After all, some shows get cut with a healthy fandom and high ratings ― what’s going on there?

In the podcast The Rest Is Entertainment, telly veteran Richard Osman went part way to explaining why some shows get cut down, even in what appears to be their prime ― and honestly, I’m not even surprised.


Explaining the sitch to co-host Marina Hyde, Richard said on the podcast, “The BBC has an awful lot less money than it used to have ― some stuff has to go.”

Of course, a complete dud is gonna be the first to get the cut ― nobody’s questioning that. But Richard explains that for a cash-conscious provider, all shows must pay their way in three different ways, not just through popularity.

These are ratings, repeatability, and international sales.

“So, you know, if you’re a show like Would I Lie To You, you can sell everywhere in the world ― you can watch a ten-year-old episode of Would I Lie To You, you can sell the format,” he said. That means it meets all three requirements.

Meanwhile, those constraints are why Mock The Week was cancelled, he explained. It was expensive as you only filmed one episode a week, he said; “the most expensive thing in TV is the studio, and if you’re only doing one show in the studio you’re paying for a whole day and you’re only getting one show out of it.”

He adds that that show has little repeat value “because there’s nothing worse than watching a six-year-old Mock The Week and it’s pre-Brexit ― everyone’s furious at Nick Clegg and it, you know, it’s too bizarre.“

The Thursday Murder Club author finishes by saying that’s why Question of Sport and Doctors are also leaving the Beeb.

Is it just the BBC then?

Nope. Vulture says that Max sacked off a load of popular shows that may have had a high viewership, but weren’t making as much money as others, due to investor and subscriber turndowns. Slowing subscriber rates has long been an issue for all streaming sites, the article adds.

Forbes says Netflix cancels shows that may have a high viewership based on their “completion rate,” or how many people finish the whole thing.

Meanwhile, The Guardian has written about how streaming sites are not only cutting and removing shows with high viewership to save money, but they’re also filming big-budget series and then never airing them.

No business like it, right?


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