R.I.P. Shows : The Anatomy of the Cult-hit

Beauty and the Beast

I think I’ve written about The CW more than any other network, so I’ll try to avoid repeating myself [will probably fail]. The CW has a history of making baffling programming decisions and I don’t think this year was an exception, although… for once I do agree with their reasoning.

The CW cancelled The Carrie Diaries, The Tomorrow People and Star-crossed. I don’t think any cancellation was particularly shocking. What was truly shocking was that Beauty and the Beast was renewed. And I say shocking because 1) Ratings were awful, probably the worst of the entire network [and of all networks], closely matched only by Star-crossed and TCD. 2) The show was taken off the schedule with the remaining eps to be “burned off” during the summer, creating a panic among fans. However, after going through the 5stages of loss, I accurately predicted it may not be the end after all.
Why was BATB renewed rather than TTP, TCD and Star-crossed? Well, Mark Pedowitz basically explained it in the pre-upfront conference with reporters: 
  1. They are a “different network” and ratings aren’t everything- I’ve said it before, CW operates at loss and it is more of a first platform window for the content of its parent companies: CBS/WB
  2. It does well digitally and has a high level of social engagement – I am going to assume that by “digitally” he means streaming is high and it is part of the bundle deals with Hulu and Netflix. There is also iTunes and Amazon to consider. Another side of the digital equation is fan engagement on social media and we know BatB has a lot of that. I also think everything the fans did didn’t go amiss. If only to give BatB an edge over the similarly rated shows.
  3. Finally, Mark P. explained the show really works in the international marketplace and I think this may have been the main reason. It is clear the show has generated a lot of international interest and the potential revenue from all those international license fees must be damn high.

I actually agree with this completely, and it goes beyond me liking the show. I was very happy about this renewal for reasons that had nothing to do with the show. I’ve been preaching the “optimization of profit by maximizing ALL revenue sources, not just advertising” for years! [way before BatB and these other shows even existed]. With a global, digital marketplace; the idea of renewing shows based solely on ratings [advertising is only a fraction of the total revenue] was ludicrous. So yes I am happy.

Now about the other shows… I’ve written more extensively about this here; also discussed the “fairness” of cancelling Star-crossed, CW’s treatment of midseason shows and tried to figure out why The 100 was a surprise hit.

I gotta say, it looks like Mark P. may know what he is doing after all. Programming all those super-hero shows and appealing to a wider audience does seem like a good strategy. However, I don’t agree with everything he is doing. I believe, in the long run, The Tomorrow People and Star-crossed had more revenue making potential than… say Hart of Dixie. I think HOD should have been cancelled a long time ago. The Secret Circle should have been renewed instead; since that didn’t happen, HOD should have been cancelled after its second season. By the way, I actually watch HOD and I like it, but I still think it wasn’t the best move to keep it for so long.

Hart of Dixie
HOD was probably renewed because the ratings were decent and the network loves Rachel Bilson [I love her too], but I don’t see it having much of an after-life [which is where shows generate most of their money]. I believe TTP and Star-crossed, had more potential to sell internationally, sell DVDs, etc. Perhaps it was a creative decision… I don’t think TTP was better than BatB, but I do think it was better than HOD. I can’t really say about Star-crossed because I haven’t watched it, but it seems to have amassed a cult-following in a very short period of time.

However, HOD was entering its 4th season and that gave it an edge. But in all fairness, I don’t think HOD should have lasted so long and probably one or both newbies deserved a shot. It also looks like they were trying to avoid a similar situation with TCD and cancelled it before it was too late [I do agree with that decision]. I also think they jumped the gun with Reign. Not necessarily saying they should have cancelled it, but it failed to deliver the Thursday ratings they were hoping for [it ended with ratings similar to BatB last year]. I don’t think keeping it on Thursday was the best move and maybe they should have given it a shorter season. I think The 100 could have worked on that Thursday elusive spot.

Expectations vs. Reality: Looks like my predictions were "Ultra" wrong

The Tomorrow People
If you had asked me last year, I would have bet The Tomorrow People was going to be the hit of the season. But man, I am terrible at predicting this stuff. I am actually really good at predicting cancellations/renewals once the shows are airing, but I never get it right before they premiere.

Did I love The Tomorrow People as much as I expected? Not at all, but I did like it. The main issue, in my opinion, was that they never quite developed the mythology to “geek standards”. The rules of the world were unclear and the stakes weren’t high enough. In addition, much like cousin Stephen, Robbie Amell never really did it for me. But still, the show had its moments and Mark Pellegrino is truly awesome. Had it gotten renewed I would have continued to watch.

2014-15 Season: Apparently I like Zombies [and Forrest Gump references]

Let’s get right to it.

My CW Pick for 2014-15 season is: iZombie!

This may come as a shock, but I am actually very confident about it. The show is about a medical student who accidentally turns into a zombie. Do I like the premise? Not at all! I don’t like supernatural, I hate zombies [I don’t even watch The Walking Dead]. But I love Rob Thomas to death [no pun intended]. He created two of my favourite shows: Veronica Mars and Party Down, and he resurrected Veronica Mars [and totally pimped out iZombie on the VM kickstarter updates, but I don’t blame him]. So basically I’ll watch this out of love for the writer. I will write more about it later when we get more news. Unfortunately this show is relegated to midseason. I am worried about it because CW has a tendency to cancel midseason shows…

I don’t know enough about The Messengers to comment about it and Jane the Virgin has got to have the most ridiculous/unappealing premise ever [Let’s skip the sex and go straight to the pregnancy… am I alone in thinking this is the worst idea ever? And why is she Latina? Am I the target audience?].

As expected, The Flash looks really great [that Forrest Gump line was pretty funny] and it is safe to say the CW will probably spend most of its money in promoting this show. If it is not a hit I will be surprised [but wouldn’t be the first time I am terribly wrong].

So, I do plan to watch The Flash. The fact that I adore Tom Cavanagh helps a lot too. Of course there is always the chance that this is another case of “Expectations and reality don’t meet” “Bad trailer/good trailer”. Who knows? I may end up liking The Flash well enough and LOVING Jane the Virgin [HIGHLY doubt it]. It has happened before…

Now dear CW fans... believe it or not, there are 4 other networks that actually air TV shows too... so if you want to read more about them CLICK HERE
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The TV Empress is a Media Management graduate, screenwriter in the making (and financial engineer in the meantime). She has serious plans to take over global television. You can follow the TVEmpress on twitter @TVRepublik

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  1. Well. Gotta admit that I'm also intrigued by and pulling for, iZombie. But for the completely opposite reasons you are: I have absolutely no feelings either way about Rob Thomasbut I DO love zombies, TWD and all that stuff. However I worry they may make it too silly; I've already read some reports that say it's ignoring several things that are known zombie 'canon'...And okay I know zombies are fictional (at least I assume as much haha),but there are some things in popular culture zombie lore that you just don't mess with. (On the other hand, I adore the BBC's 'In The Flesh', and that has also turned a lot of conventional zombie thinking on its perhaps am more forgiving if change than I think!)
    But back to the CW...speaking of silly, I totally agree with your Jane the Virgin views...and felt even more confused about their decision to go forward with it after seeing the trailer. It strikes me more as something you'd see on ABC Family - and it would crash and burn there too. But...Maybe the CW knows something we don't. Stranger things have happened!
    I have absolutely no opinion on The Messengers...what little I know about it holds absolutely no appeal: I can see it being too rah rah cutesy for my tastes, and I'm also NOT a fan of most shows with heavy religious overtones, as I fear this may have.
    And finally - The Flash. I agree it will probably do well. I also will probably not bother to watch. The superhero elements of Arrow are my least favourite parts of that show, and I became progressively more disinterested in it this year, as the comic elements were ramped up. And the eps which introduced the whole Flash idea thoroughly bored me. So, I wish it luck - but sorry CW, I won't be one of the viewers.
    But - I WILL be cheering endlessly for matter where it ends up being stuck on the schedule. As much as the CW looks at things other than US ratings (and rightly so) I seriously think that the ratings for the final 6 S2 eps, to be shown this summer, will have a direct effect on not only the time slot S3 eventually gets, but possibly also in the number of episodes ultimately produced...both for S3 AND for the chances of S4. But I'm getting ahead of myself, as usual!
    Great always get me thinking!

    1. I totally agree Julie. I think as enjoyable and fun it will be to (finally) get BATB back, I do believe that the CW will look at how it performs in this period, maybe as a test-run for summer programming in the future. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

    2. OK, I wanted to ramble reply since Sunday, so here it goes Julie...

      About iZombie - I think that is going to be the big issue with this show... I don't think it should be looked at like a "zombie show". Rob Thomas can write the "young female outsider" better than anyone, and I think it will be that type of show and appeal to that type of audience (like me), unfortunately that type of audience prob wouldn't watch a zombie show! On the other hand zombie fans may be offended that this is not a zombie show... You see? it has a tough road ahead... I was actually going to watch "In the Flesh" because it looks less zombie-sy. BTW what exactly is considered "zombie canon"? Please educate me haha

      About The Flash - I don't mind superheroes but I am not a hard core fan either. However I have this feeling I may end up watching The Flash but not loving it.... Maybe it will be better than Arrow... IDK

      and about BatB, at this point with everything I have invested on that show they could film Jay and Kristin in a room reading the phone book and I'd be "Season 4!" haha so yeah...

  2. I love #batb, great show, great actors, epic storyline!!!

  3. So pleased #BATB was renewed fantastic show and brilliant actors can't wait for season 3.

  4. #BATB é maravilhosa, a melhor série q já assisti e continuarei assistindo, claro! Excelente enredo e atores...amooo

  5. I like BATB, so I am very happy for its renewal. I did my own research about it and concluded exactly what you have concluded weeks before the announcement and I was 99% sure for its renewal. From CW shows i watch only BATB. I don't like superheros, zombies, vampires and diaries. What i am going to write next is based on what I have read (review papers, rating articles, critiques, people's opinion from different sources, etc.) and it is based on numbers only.
    I totally agree with your opinion about Jane the Virgin (JTV). Cannot understand who may think its idea will work. People are so angry of canceling the Star Cross and The Tomorrow People and bringing this one (the sense is from the Facebook page of the show JTV), so I am convinced it will not take another season. And you are right about the target audience as well. The Flash will be a hit. Since it was announces, its Facebook page gains about 20K likes per day and already has 283K likes and the people are really exited about it (for comparison JTV has 0.8K likes for the same time).
    One thing that I am puzzled is why the Reign (TR) was renewed and The tomorrow people (TTP) was send to die on Monday, when the ratings for both were similar (a bit better for TR but not that much to be renewed so early and totally to doomed TTP). I believe that TTP has grater potential than TR and would have better ratings if they were switched on the days. TR already has disappointing ratings. The last 6 weeks were with ratings below 0.5 with the last 0.45 and 1.2mil viewers, so it may not get S3. About the 100, you said it is hit, but I think it is not. For 10 episodes its rating is less than for the same season and same number of episodes for TR, TTP and BATB, and they are far form hits. Its rating dropped already below 0.5. I don't think it will go better than this and it has Arrow to lead it.
    From all new 4 I may give it a try to the Messenger, it seams the most promising to me.

    1. I gotta say, I am impressed with the fan interest The Flash has already generated. It feel more than Arrow even... I wonder if it is because of the comic book... or what? I'll be shocked if that show isn't a success but stranger things have happened....


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