Friday, December 02, 2005

"Kitchen Confidential" among the failed series of this season...

Cancelled or may as well officially be: Hot Properties, Reunion, Alias, Threshold, Night Stalker; The Apprentice: Martha Stewart; Inconceivable; Head Cases; Kitchen Confidential; Sex, Love & Secrets, Just Legal, Arrested Development, Three Wishes, and maybe (though it’s the one of these series that BeansTalk actually likes, mostly), Related. 7th Heaven and Everybody Loves Raymond won’t be returning, either.

Shows That Are Surprisingly Still On (or We Don’t Get It): Yes Dear, Still Standing, Joey, Twins, What I Like About You, Stacked, According to Jim, Freddie, Hope & Faith, The L-Word, anything on UPN (except Everybody Hates Chris and Veronica Mars).

Funny, but not enough viewers are watching: The Bernie Mac Show, Malcolm in the Middle

We're still irritated that shows we loved were cancelled: Carnivale and Dead Like Me

What we can't wait for: The new season of Monk, the return of Deadwood, the return of Weeds, Extras (hope we don't have to move this to the category directly above).


From The New York Times:

TV networks not so quick now to give shows the ax

By Rodney Ho

New York Times

ATLANTA -- For years, TV viewers started to get attached to a show, only to watch it disappear after only a couple of episodes. Outraged petitions went up online. Fans pleaded: "Remember 'Seinfeld'? Remember 'Cheers'? They weren't hits out of the gate."

But last year at this point, they'd axed 10 new shows, including "Clubhouse," "LAX" and "The Casino."

This year, though, TV execs are showing surprising restraint. Just five of the season's 31 new shows have been canceled: UPN soap "Love, Sex & Secrets," NBC drama "Inconceivable," ABC thriller "Night Stalker" and a pair of lawyer shows: Fox's "Head Cases" with Chris O'Donnell and the WB's "Just Legal" with Don Johnson.

Another indicator of their newfound forbearance: They've already ordered full seasons of an unusually high 17 new shows.

"They are being a little more patient than usual," said Marc Berman, a TV writer for MediaWeek, who tracks show ratings daily.

Networks are less willing to throw away the millions they've spent on producing and promoting a show by canceling it. Especially when their strategy of plugging holes with cheaper reality fare or crime-show repeats has shown diminishing returns.

And they also may finally have realized that they must make changes to compete with cable, which is providing more and better alternatives than ever before.

"With viewers facing so many choices -- not just on broadcast and cable but in new media -- you have to make it easier for viewers to develop a habit," said Vivi Zigler, NBC's senior VP of marketing services.

So networks are looking for ways to give on-the-fence shows a chance to connect, including playing with time slots. This month, for instance, CBS swapped two shows with borderline ratings -- the drama "Close to Home" and the sci-fi thriller "Threshold."

Survival is never easy in the Darwinian world of television. In a typical year, only one-third of new shows live to see a second season. But even though networks haven't hit any home runs (such as last year's "Desperate Housewives" or "Lost") this season, they have hit enough singles and doubles that as many as half of the new shows might see a sophomore year, Berman said.

One of the most surprising survivors this year is the WB's "Related," a drama about four sisters that is among the lowest-rated shows on broadcast television, averaging fewer than 2.7 million viewers.

But being on the WB or UPN means being graded on a curve. With audiences one-third the size of No. 1 network CBS, the two netlets don't need as many viewers to keep something on the air. And they usually have even fewer replacement options than the Big Four. Thus, it's easier to survive.

But even on CBS, patience can pay off. Its whirlwind reality show "The Amazing Race," which was nearly canceled at least twice, finally took off during its fifth incarnation. It now performs decently on Tuesday nights against tough competition.

These are the exceptions, though, not the rule. Emmy-winning comedy "Arrested Development" on Fox and ABC's espionage thriller "Alias" never found viable audiences despite loyal cult followings. Both are being cut loose this season.

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