Blog Post #212
I know it’s been awhile since I last posted the blog… no excuses this time! OK…well, there was this little thing called the pandemic, so that sure didn’t help. I’m not the type to get depressed, normally. I’m very optimistic. Even if I get sad or angry, it doesn’t last very long. However, I was having a lot of pandemic depression this past year or so. I did think of many blog topics in my head, but getting them written down for you was a little bit more problematic. For one thing, when I get depressed, I procrastinate more and spend way too much time watching TV and reading social media, and less time working on my sites. I know I’m not the only one! I know that many people were stuck at home, in a funk… so they baked bread, ate comfort food, binged Netflix and made funny TikTok videos of their cats. It’s as if a sort of ennui came over the country (if not the whole world). Not to minimize it because it was the result of the fear of COVID, plus having to stay home, or losing your job, or not being able to have contact with other people.
Lack of time management skills is definitely one drawback of running your own company (especially if you have no board of directors to answer to). My time is my own, and sometimes I’m bad at prioritizing. For another thing, there are many other duties that I have on my site that require daily or weekly updating. They don’t leave much time for other writing. Also, it’s been harder and harder to get more volunteers for our site. Right now I have no one to write “The Bold and Beautiful” short recaps for our site at all. I was writing some of them, when I had a little time, and we had a fine volunteer named Mark who was writing them the rest of the time. Mark has disappeared, though (as often happens with volunteers), so I have no one else to do it. We do have a lot of other wonderful writers on our site that provide daily soap updates, recaps and more. If you can write a short B&B recap for even one day per week, that would be very helpful – and we’ll be eternally grateful!
Another thing that took up a lot of my time was all of the interviews I did this past year (particularly in 2021). I’m always glad to do them, but they do require me to devote a ridiculous amount of time to them. I’ve done a lot fewer TV and DVD reviews, in fact, because I simply haven’t had enough time to watch and write. I’ve been stretched very thin.
So, enough excuses. This time of year is when the TV networks tell us which shows are returning and which aren’t; as well as telling us about their Fall schedules and about the new shows they have coming out. It’s a sad time for TV fans because our favorite TV series invariably are canceled. Everyone thinks, “My favorite shows always get canceled!” and that annoys the heck out of me because MOST TV SHOWS GET CANCELED AFTER ONE OR TWO YEARS! It’s not just your show, and not on just one network. Also, this is not a recent phenomenon. It’s been happening for at least 50 years. It happens on all TV networks, not just broadcast – even cable and streaming.
The reason I know this is because I did some research a few years back. I’m not going to say that it was serious or in-depth research….it was just a hurried look at the primetime TV schedules going back to the 1970’s. Wikipedia has all of the schedules dating back to the beginning of TV. I went through them, taking notes, and that’s when I discovered that my theory was true: most TV series get canceled after one or two years. This has been happening a very long time.
For some reason, people think that because something is entertaining – that’s its main function. Of course, the main purpose of TV, movies, video games (and to a certain extent, plays and books) is to make money. They may call themselves the entertainment industry, but they’re in the BUSINESS of entertainment. TV networks make money from their advertising (most broadcast and cable TV, and some streaming), subscriptions (Premium channels and streaming) or from funding (PBS). Most people know this, somewhere in the back of their minds, but they don’t really think about it. Their emotions about their show override everything else.
If a show gets low ratings, it has to be canceled because the network can’t convince enough sponsors to buy ads during that show’s time. If not enough people watch a show on, say, Netflix, then they cancel it because it’s not worth it to them to keep it going – they want their content to be popular. They don’t want people to cancel their subscriptions because they don’t like their shows. They want more people to sign up for Netflix. It’s very similar to what happens with broadcast TV — they just don’t have ads. All the networks also look at the demographics – who is watching the shows. They prefer shows that are watched by people in the 18-49 age group because that group has the most disposable or discretionary income and they’re not yet settled on which brands they like. Older people have more money, but they’re not as likely to be swayed by advertising, and they also save more of their money. Younger people don’t have as much money, since they’re not in the work force, for the most part.
I’ve been trying to tell people these things when I see them complaining on social media – particularly in Facebook groups. I get annoyed when I see things like, “How can they cancel such a good show?” or “I think that there must be more to it than ratings,” or “Don’t they know that it’s popular on HULU?” Then I have to explain to them how it works, but they really don’t care, for the most part. I don’t know why it bothers me so! It’s just my personal pet peeve.
TV Networks do look at some DVR and streaming ratings, but the bulk of their money comes from the live broadcast advertising, so that’s the most important thing. This is why they’re losing money, too, and having to change their business models. Most people are either watching TV on their DVRs, or watching streaming, or not watching at all. You may have noticed that every network has their own streaming service as well. That’s because they’re trying to get more money and stay in business via subscription. NBC/UNIVERSAL has Peacock; CBS has Paramount+ (formerly called CBS All Access); ABC has Disney+; FOX has HULU (Disney bought FOX, so they now own HULU as well); The CW has CWSeed; AMC has AMC+; HBO and Warner Brothers have HBO Max. The list goes on. There are too many, though, so we shall see how it all shakes out. It should be interesting!
The networks also make some money from the other streaming networks such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, if they make a deal to stream their shows; and from the cable companies; and from syndication and foreign airings. Those are not their primary sources of revenue, however. Sorry, viewers in Canada – they don’t care too much if you watch their shows because you’re not watching their ads.
Speaking of which, this week are the upfronts, which is when the broadcast (and some cable) networks show their new shows and Fall schedules to advertisers and media, hoping that the former will buy air time from them. It used to be done in person, of course. Like most things this year – it’s virtual. I will be attending the FOX upfront next week. I’m still waiting to get an invitation for the NBC upfront, so my fingers are crossed!
Anyway, getting back to the TV fans… this month, many fans are down in the dumps about the cancellation of “Prodigal Son” by FOX. I love that show myself, and I’m upset about it. However, it did have really low ratings. It was barely brought back from season one, and then it did even worse for season two (the pandemic probably didn’t help because it delayed its return). FOX has canceled all of their non-animated shows except for “Call Me Kat” so far….we’re still waiting to hear about a few other shows.
A lot of fans tend to blame FOX for canceling their favorite shows, without realizing that FOX puts a lot of interesting shows on TV that the other networks would never touch. So if not for FOX, we might not have had any episodes of “Prodigal Son,” or “The X-Files,” “Firefly,” “Fringe,” “9-1-1,” “The Resident,” “The Gifted,” “Lucifer,” “Glee’ and many other fun shows. As I said above, they don’t cancel any more shows – or any sooner – than any other network. I would also guess that because FOX aired some of the successful groundbreaking scifi/fantasy shows, it’s pushed the other networks to have more of these types of shows, which is why we now have “EVIL” on CBS, and non-traditional shows like “Manifest” and “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” on NBC. Networks tend to copy each other. I’ve seen fans blame Syfy or ABC for the exact reason, too. They threaten to boycott. What is the point? It rarely helps anything. They’re not going to keep your show on if it’s losing them money.
The problem with people getting so upset over the cancellations is that they stop watching shows that they think might get canceled. TV networks (especially broadcast and cable) are already having such a crisis due to the competition from video games, the internet and streaming TV, and people who “cut the cord,” that it becomes a vicious cycle of people getting pissed off, the nets losing money, and then people stop watching, or they watch less. I totally understand the angst. It hurts my heart when a show I love goes away. I just don’t see the point in blaming the people who cancel the shows because their job is not fun. They don’t like to fire people, either. It’s just the nature of their jobs. FOX is not one guy, and the people who canceled “Firefly” years ago are not the same people who canceled “Prodigal Son.” They just go by the same rules. If it doesn’t make money, they stop buying/airing it – in the same way that companies stop making a product if it doesn’t sell.
The other problem – sad to say – is the internet. People go on Twitter or Facebook and complain about their favorite shows getting canceled, and it sometimes spurs them on to make giant fan campaigns that sometimes even save shows, such as the case of “The Expanse” getting picked up by Amazon after Syfy canceled it. Unfortunately, this is rare, so instead, people get all riled up, and they start trying to get people to boycott. Or, they just get angrier and angrier, which often leads to fighting amongst themselves. It doesn’t make anyone feel better, as far as I can tell. It probably does make them more disillusioned with TV, so they watch fewer shows.
Now I’m just waiting to see if NBC cancels those two shows I mentioned before, plus “Debris,” or not. I have my fingers crossed! You can see the list of canceled and renewed shows on this site. There are only a few other shows I’m upset about. Some of them we’ve known for some time because the networks gave them one last season: “Black Lighting,” “Supergirl,” “Burden of Truth,” “Trickster,” (all on The CW) and “Connecting…” (on NBC). Also, I’m very disappointed that Netflix canceled “The Irregulars,” which I just recently binged. They didn’t give that one much of a chance. Sometimes it takes people a little while to get around to watching shows. There’s a lot out there to watch! I loved that show. It’s worth watching anyway, though. It’s a pretty self-contained season. It has an ending, so you can watch it and enjoy it, like a miniseries.
“Prodigal Son” has their last episode this coming Tuesday, May 18th, and it’s a doozy. I’ve already seen it. Make sure you watch it. It’s great! It has everything we’ve come to know and love about this show: comedy, drama, tragedy, action, shocking violence, gore, and awkward comments from Edrisa. It has a tiny cliffhanger, but it’s not the kind where you think, “Oh, no! I can’t believe that’s how they’ve ended it!” Even if we don’t get to see the resolution, we know these characters very well, so we can imagine them getting out of the precarious situation that they’re in at the end of the episode (Yes, I’m being deliberately vague). It’s not exactly shocking, either. At least, it wasn’t to me. There was plenty of foreshadowing. I hope that someone does pick it up, though. I just love this show, and I’ll miss it.
Another show I really loved this year was “Resident Alien” on Syfy. I hope you got to watch that one. It’s coming back for a second year, thank goodness. I was happy to interview some of the cast (Alan Tudyk, Sara Tomko and showrunner Chris Sheridan, and Tudyk again with Corey Reynolds. It’s such a fun show.
Like most geeks, I was also transfixed this past year by “Wanda/Vision,” “The Falcon and Winter Soldier” and “The Mandalorian” on Disney+; and “The Boys” and “Invincible” on Amazon Prime – all excellent shows! Speaking of which, I just heard about this useful service, VidAngel, that helps you keep four-letter words, violence or other things you don’t like out of your shows and movies. I sure wish I had found this before I watched “The Boys” and some other shows!
I’m still watching “Days of Our Lives,” but sometimes it’s a little too boring and predictable. Their April Fool’s Day episode was a real hoot, though. They made fun of their show so well. I’m looking forward to the return of Ciara (Victoria Konefal). I had this letter published in Soap Opera Digest, complaining about the lack of romance in the show! I hope they can improve that.
Which show are you missing? What are you watching now? Let us know in the comments!
Proofread and Edited by Brenda
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