Archives For TV Shows

When Good Shows Get Cancelled

Mari Silbey —  October 18, 2006

Mari Silbey joins ZNF…

TV technology keeps getting better, and yet so far it hasn’t solved the problem of good shows that get cancelled long before they should. Rumor has it that Studio 60 may not be getting the viewers it needs to stick around. Will shows like this – with a bad time slot and a decent chance for a cult following – eventually get made solely for a DVD or an on-demand audience?

At the Fourth Annual TV DVD Conference earlier this month, analysts touted statistics on the success of TV series on DVD. Sales are paced at 20% over last year’s numbers and the TV DVD segment is expected to reach $3 billion in sales in 2006. Of course the DVD audience is currently buying up shows that have already been tested, but how long will it be before a DVD or on-demand audience proves profitable enough for big-money original productions?

From a business perspective, there are huge ramifications for the current television business model. Dick Wolf of Law and Order fame has an interview in today’s Wall Street Journal (free content) where he points to the viability of syndicated television when digital TV downloads become more popular. I see a likely inverse correlation between the continued success of syndication and the growth of original on-demand content.

Dave and I were also talking about the television industry in general. It seems the industry complains that no one’s watching TV, and then they go right ahead and yank shows before knowing if we’ll stick around to watch them. I, for one, don’t want to start a show if it’s only been signed for half a season. There’s nothing quite like getting invested in a series and then having it disappear. (Kidnapped, Firefly, Sports Night…) Good shows need another avenue for distribution.


As a DVR user and a guy with a short attention span, I don’t watch a whole lot of live TV. Football and Lost are about the only things I catch as they’re broadcast. Why bother posting? I want to get it on the record that 4/13 I predicted Henry Gale as a Kaiser Soze… which I expect to see revealed tonight. In fact I have a $10 bet riding on it with a work buddy.

I’m not an American Idol fan, but I happen to live with someone who is. From what I’ve seen the best performer (Chris Daughtry) has already been booted, making the show even less interesting. However, tonight’s finale is worth mentioning because this is your last chance to enter TiVo’s Idol Speculation Series3 raffle. 3pm EST is the cut off, so you might need to take a long lunch to get your entry in.

At long last, HBO has announced release dates for the second seasons of Deadwood and Entourage! Still no word on Rome or Ricky Gervais’ Extras. We watch most television through Netflix these days (no commercials, no scheduling, compressed seasons), and have been anxiously awaiting these discs. Speaking of Netflix television, we’re in the midst of a Sleeper Cell marathon this weekend.

Deadwood Season 2 – 5/23/06
Entourage Season 2 – 6/6/06