The rumors of the death of many new and returning television shows were confirmed this week. For the past few months, speculation has circulated that two NBC dramas, “Lipstick Jungle” and “My Own Worst Enemy,” faced the chopping block due to lower than anticipated ratings. According to various entertainment news sources, including E! Entertainment, these shows only have three and two episodes left to air. However, they are not the only shows facing a slow, painful death.
In addition to the two mentioned above, NBC will soon shelve a few other shows. “Crusoe,” based on the Daniel Defoe novel, only has six more episodes. The recycled “Knight Rider,” a sequel to the 1980s series, proves that it takes more than a talking sports car to make up for the lackluster acting and the poorly written story lines.
Four ABC television shows are on their way out. Despite trying to add familiar television faces like Blair Underwood and Lucy Liu, the drama “Dirty, Sexy, Money” could not stay afloat. Even critically-acclaimed shows like “Eli Stone” and “Pushing Daisies” did not draw the expected viewers. Proving that the public will not watch any reality show, “Opportunity Knocks” has been postponed until the summer.
Based on the Israeli series “The Mythological X,” CBS’s romantic comedy “The Ex List” failed to draw viewers to this international import. Additionally, people were not drawn to Fox’s hotel drama “Do Not Disturb.”
A number of factors have been blamed for the demise of network television. One of the primary offenders has been the flood of reality television shows that, for the most part, garner massive ratings and are cheaper to make than hour-long dramas. The other factor that may have drawn viewers away from the networks is the variety of quality television offered on cable. Not only are the shows edgier, but many of them are well written with concrete story lines and creative dialogue.
Another current reason for the demise has to do with the economic climate. In the past, a show that was critically acclaimed may have been given the opportunity to get legs. A good example of that was “Seinfeld” in the 1990s. Now, the cost of advertising new shows and especially the cost of making hour-long series are making the television industry scrap this process if a show does not yield immediate returns.
During the 2008 Fall Television Season, only one new show was able to exceed the television industries expectations. The CBS crime drama “The Mentalist” became the highest-rated new show of the season. This feat has not been accomplished since the debut of “Desperate Housewives” in the 2004.
Because of the cyclical nature of the television industry, there may be a time when the series television will get out of this slump and produce television shows that both critics and audiences will be drawn to.