Things I Don’t Like About Television, Episode 4: Premature Cancellation

More specifically, when I say premature cancellation, I’m referring to the abrupt end to good or promising shows. To be even more specific, I’m talking about most programs that are cancelled after one season and short of at least 3 years. Dramas first come to mind. Of course, there may be a few comedies in there, as well as variety and clip shows.

Over the years, I have seen a number of well-written shows get pulled off the air without so much as an explanation. At the same time, truly awful shows have been allowed to stay on past their expiration dates. This may be due to ratings or viewer feedback — or the flat-out disregard for them either way.

Is Premature Cancellation is All about Ratings?

Partially. Often, we get this story that the premature cancellations were based on ratings. As many of us know, ratings are analyzed by demographics; in particular, networks want to see how much of the 18-49 market their shows attract. It boils down to money, as advertisers are trying to reach the 18-49 market (which represents ages of consumers in years). This is supposed to be the group that drives consumerism or something like that.

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