Fox is on a cancellation rampage


Again I find myself delving into the troubled and turbulent world of the studio known as Fox. It seems that the studio has been playing Russian roulette with the shows that premiered this season, as well as a few from their repertoire that have done exceedingly well, and garnered them a few awards in the process, yet have in the last couple of seasons lost viewership.

Cancellation is a bitter pill to swallow.

Take for example the fact that one of their veteran series, House, has been cancelled as of this year. Their reasoning is that the viewer base has dwindled in the last year. I think that it was more to the writing in the show that has caused the show in the last years to drop their fan base. The premise for the show has changed little in its run. To me it has always followed these steps:

  1. Some sort of illness/virus/injury affects a patient
  2. The “team of House” spends copious amounts of time toward trial and error to heal the patient.
  3. Once it is found out that none of these works, House spends a bunch of time staring at a white board, and being a complete ass toward the team he assembled.
  4. House the great then figures out the cause, and delivers the curing blow to the patient.

The show has rarely diverted from this formula. There are interpersonal stories mixed in to help lengthen the show to fit within the recommended 45-minute run time, however there has been very little in the development of the show itself.

House fans are not alone, however. It seems that Fox has the largest chopping block of the year as they lay one other veteran show and three new shows neck by neck, and are currently holding the cleaver up in the air to strike down.

Fringe is standing on its proverbial namesake. The viewer rating for the show has dropped off the charts in the last two seasons. Last season, rather than cancelling the show, Warner Bros. cut their licensing fees to the show, which helped it get this fourth season on the air. However with as much as a 50% drop in audience attendance again this year, based on last season’s ratings, the future of Fringe is standing on the, well, the fringe.

The question now falls onto two studios for the future of the show, Warner Bros. and Fox. Should Warner Bros. drop the licensing fees for the show again, basically giving the show wholly to Fox, would they renew it? Most likely, but the chances of that happening are worse than someone proving the string theory in quantum mechanics.

Fringe has now, for two seasons, been causing a loss in money for Fox. To anyone this is reason alone to pull the plug.

Swing the butcher knife at the first neck.

Also stretching their necks, amazingly, on the Fox butcher block this season, are the seemingly-strong newcomers, Terra Nova, Alcatraz and The Finder.

Hopefully this show can find some better ratings.

Bones spinoff, The Finder, is showing signs of pulling in many of the fans of the Bones series, along with the continued possibility of having crossover episodes. However it still does not have the largest audience rating. Then again it is a mid-season entry into the mix. Normally these shows do not share the high ratings of season-opener newcomers. The reasons are that the viewers are already set in their viewing schedule. This tends to alienate many of the great shows that get released in the beginning of the new year. One of the great things is that when the new season comes, and with the proper advertising, the series in question tends to garner a larger audience.

The same thing that is happening to The Finder is also happening to Alcatraz. This new series from Lost creator, J.J. Abrams, follows the reemergence of prisoners and guards that disappeared in 1963. Fox is unsure whether they want to allow the show to continue into another season, as the ratings have also done a drop. As with The Finder, Alcatraz has never had the opportunity to gain its full viewership possibilities based on its premier date in the beginning of the year.

How a television station can accurately measure the viewership of a series so early in its infancy confuses me. Both of these series have what it is that the public seems to want: intrigue, suspense, mystery, crime and characters we can love. Yet the network decided that they wanted to premier both shows mid-season. Fox needs to renew them for a minimum of one more full season of episodes, give both these shows the advertising over the summer that they deserve, and the viewership should skyrocket.

Yet it seems that Fox is looking for instant gratification, a television series that will instantly become a hit. They will not allow any sleeper shows to gain the audience they deserve before dropping them into the Sarlacc pit. On the flip side, Fox will continue to pump out adult-themed animation and renew them regardless of the audience rating.

With surefire hits like The Simpsons, King of the Hill and Family Guy keeping their audiences for multiple seasons, it’s a no-brainer that they would try to bring in other shows to see if they would have the same success. In walks Sit Down, Shut Up, Futurama, American Dad and shortly after, The Cleveland Show, a spin-off of Family Guy. The last two years we have seen Fox unveil Bob’s Burgers, Allen Gregory and Napoleon Dynamite. 2013 will see the newly re-imagined Flintstones cartoon series.

Bob’s Burgers and Napoleon Dynamite share equally low ratings. The future of both of these shows hangs in the balance. Napoleon Dynamite will most likely be cancelled. Only time will determine if Bob’s Burgers will make the cut, with the second season beginning March 11th.

Even though Fox remains the number two most-watched station, they seem to go through shows faster that the cast from Sex in the City went through shoes.

Here are my predictions for the shows currently on Fox prime time:

  • Touch: Balancing a 50/50 chance so far
  • New Girl: 75% chance of  renewal
  • Family Guy: Officially renewed
  • Glee: 98% chance of renewal
  • The Simpsons: Officially renewed
  • Napoleon Dynamite: I give a 70% cancellation chance based on reviews and viewer attendance alone; this is not a definite, as Fox seems to take more chances with cartoons rather than live series
  • House: Officially cancelled
  • Bones: 85% chance of renewal
  • Alcatraz: 50/50, it is a bad year for mid-season newcomers
  • Raising Hope: One of my favorite comedies is looking at a 70% cancellation chance
  • American Dad: Officially renewed
  • Terra Nova: Officially cancelled
  • The Finder: Still looking for something to get it past its 75% chance of cancellation
  • I Hate My Teenage Daughter: They also hate the Fox Executives and their 90% chances of cancellation
  • The Cleveland Show: Surprise! Officially Renewed
  • Allen Gregory: This is actually a surprise, a Fox cartoon that was officially cancelled
  • Fringe: They need to look for a supernatural savior for their 90% cancellation chance

I personally am looking forward to any and all announcements for the 2013 season of Fox’s prime time line-up and new shows. They are looking for their instant hits, and giving the other shows with the highest possibilities of becoming the sleeper hits of 2013 the axe. There seems to be some sort of executive decision and audience reaction mix-up going on in the HQ of Fox and the people being affected the most, outside the crews of the shows, are the fans. But why should network executives look at the fan comments, when it is the financial reports based on the time slots that speak loudest to them?.

So here stands Fox, cleaver in hand, preparing to drop it onto the chopping block with many shows’ necks exposed upon it. I will be looking into other networks in the next few months and let you know what is happening to other series, and also keep you abreast of new series in the works. Keep checking back on Nerdlocker and let me know what you think will/should happen with these shows!

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