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Bad Idea of the Week: Canceling the Canceled Shows

Here's the story of this TV season in a nutshell: Networks put on new shows. Networks cancel new shows. Networks promise to bring back the canceled shows so dedicated fans can get some bit of closure. Well, now we can add a new step to the process: Networks cancel the canceled shows again, further frustrating fans who had waited months for the supposed resolution and now are unlikely to get it at all.

ABC got into the act this week, canceling "The Knights of Prosperity" and "The Nine" for a second time after just two episodes each. They must have taken a lesson from Fox, which moved the date of the final two episodes of "Drive" several times before finally deciding against putting the episodes on TV at all.

In all these cases, the presumed reason behind pulling the show yet again is low ratings. But how could the networks have expected anything else? We viewers take risks when we make time for new shows, and when they get pulled mid-season, that chips away at our trust and makes us less likely to return. With me so far? Then

Only the most dedicated fans of the canceled shows are likely to even know that the remaining episodes have been slipped back on the air, as they arrive with no fanfare and little, if any, promotion. And quite a few fans, having been burned by the network the first time around, are unlikely to make time in their schedules for the burn-off episodes; even I, a big "Knights of Prosperity" fan the first time around, only remembered at the last minute to TiVo one of last week's two new episodes, and I haven't even watched it yet.

That still doesn't justify the networks' yanking of shows a second time around. It's pretty obvious that if the shows had been getting good ratings to start with, they wouldn't have been canceled in the first place. Naturally, episodes of an irrelevant show that air long after the show was last broadcast will do worse. Any network executive who believes otherwise is, frankly, delirious.

But having the shows pulled a second time is just an insult to the dedicated fans who did make an effort to find the show again— and that makes viewers even less likely to commit to new network shows the next time around. I'd like to see shows get to finish their full runs on the air a la "Studio 60." But if the networks aren't fully committed to letting them burn every one of the unaired episodes on TV, I'd rather see the series go online or to a DVD. When they pop back on TV only briefly, we just feel the rug being pulled out from under us again.

Photo copyright 2007 ABC, Inc.

Join The Conversation
alexlove alexlove 10 years
This is exactly how I feel! Why should I invest any time on new shows? I am really tired of it :(
eyeris806 eyeris806 10 years
so many good shows left last season. and the way they pull shows does make me wary about starting a new one. so i wait. and hope that i'm not too far behind when a show actually makes it thru.
beingtazim beingtazim 10 years
how do they know already? i don't usually watch a show right away - i see what you and other people think of them first, or wait until i can see the, on DVD - so up to a year later.
Heather36782 Heather36782 10 years
They cancelled Veronica Mars and the Gilmore Girls-I think T.V. execs pretty much suck!
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 10 years
Evil networks! There were rumors that CW would air the last episodes of "Runaway" this summer and there's nada. Zip. Zero. I loved that show...
Phil Phil 10 years
It was a disappointing season for many. The Knights of Prosperity first get moved from their fall premier to being a mid-season add-on. Then it runs the course of... just about 8 weeks and it gets cancelled. Then it gets a chance to show its unaired episodes for the good folks who still love the show. Then it's cancelled again with episodes still unaired. Even worse for The Nine which was compelling (after much flip-flopping on the show as a result of not knowing if I could handle another serialized drama, I finally decided I would run with it) and had an incredible cast. It got a fall premier and massive critical acclaim (which kind of has me fretting for Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money this upcoming season) on what essentially is a dead-zone for TV (regardless of how the ratings are doing...*cough*INVASION*cough*) and is shown very little faith to actually run its course. Sadly I see the same thing happening to Men in Trees (and I pray that I'm wrong). The show was removed from the schedule in order to show October Road sometime during February. ABC didn't even air the show's season finale! Good thing is we get a 29 episode second season like Grey's second season. Bad thing is will anyone remember to tune in to this excellent show, especially considering its new timeslot of Friday? Before ABC pulled MiT, it actually was having a steady rise in overall viewership week-to-week. When OCtober Road premiered, I don't think it managed to gain viewers during it's entire run. All this network schmuckery is giving me flashbacks of the scheduling of Arrested Development's final season :(
Phasekitty Phasekitty 10 years
So true, Buzz! I consider myself lucky because of all the new shows I took on this year, only Studio 60 was canceled, and I at least got to see the end of it. I always tread lightly when picking my new shows because I don't want to be left hanging for a mid season replacement!
mrskrismendoza mrskrismendoza 10 years
Oh no. :( KOP is one of my fav shows. Aww I'm so sad.
mwmsjuly19 mwmsjuly19 10 years
I watch TV. And I love my shows. That said, the networks are run by a lot of idiots who are out of touch with people and who think they need to dumb everythng down, like copying the same reality show theme over and over across all the channels. It's so tiresome. Originality is rarely supported, marketed or rewarded. Two weeks with bad ratings? Yer outta here!
dmblauren dmblauren 10 years
abc has been on my shit list ever since they cancelled alias. i'm STILL not over it . . .
lintacious lintacious 10 years
people still watch tv?
Linda-McP Linda-McP 10 years
Very well said, Buzz!
sydneyalias sydneyalias 10 years
I totally agree with you! I liked The Nines when it first aired and probably would have watched had I even known episodes were reairing. How can they pull these shows a second time to air the hidden camera crap I stumbled on the other day? To be honest, I haven't watched network TV since the May finales.
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