Small Screen: Why do networks cancel shows such as Quantico?

You have questions. I have some answers.

Q: They have cancelled quite a few shows I love and I am disgusted! You explained “Designated Survivor” and “The Chew.” Why “Quantico”?

article continues below

A: The drama starring Priyanka Chopra could not keep the audiences it had early on. Deadline.com put it this way: “With its dense narrative and heavy serialization, the series started to lose momentum in the second half of its first season and continued to see declines though Season 2 and into Season 3.” (I was one of those who gave up during the first season.) Even then, the third season was a shortened one, with a new showrunner brought in. But the numbers apparently did not justify continuing, even with Chopra’s international appeal and the production coming from ABC Studios. After all, as Deadline said, “from a financial standpoint, it is particularly painful for the studio when a series is canceled after 3 seasons.”

But, while you accepted my explanation for the demise of “The Chew,” many readers did not — particularly when it came to the issue of the show’s not-young-enough demographics. For example ...

Q: There are many older persons that watch TV. They need to be considered when cancelling shows. “The Chew” was one of my favourites — very entertaining and informative. I also really liked “Code Black, which I understand is being taken off. My age is in the mid 70s. There are other ages to consider — not just those in the 18 to 49 age group.

A: Other readers added that older adults have money to buy products, too — and that advertisers should recognize that. Only there is a prevailing assumption that when people hit 50 and beyond, they are firmly loyal to brands they’ve been buying, and less susceptible to advertisers’ pitches for new and different products. While that theory has been debated, David Wallis wrote in the AARP Bulletin in 2014 that many advertisers ignored the older market, or mocked over-50s in their ads. “While boomers and the ’greatest generation’ watch more live television than younger viewers, many older adults unsurprisingly tune out ads,” Wallis wrote; “more than half of older adults surveyed by the advertising firm GlynnDevins do not believe ads portray them as ’people to be respected.’” But since most TV channels want ad dollars, they’re going to cater to sponsors’ preconceptions, even if they are wrong.

Q: When is the DVD of “The Good Doctor” going to be available?

A: The much-admired drama starring Freddie Highmore as a doctor with autism is due on DVD on Aug. 7.

Q: What happened to Prospect Park’s online soap opera experiment? They seemed to have success with their revivals of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” and then it went bust.

A: After ABC cancelled those two long-running soaps in 2011, the entertainment company Prospect Park licensed the rights to the two shows and prepared to put them online. By the time it did so in 2013, there had been a major falling-out with ABC. The resulting legal tangles lasted longer than the two shows’ brief online runs. In 2016 the rights to the two series returned to ABC — although there’s no indication the network will revive either series.

Q: It would be appreciated if you could find out when, if ever, the St. Elsewhere TV series from the 80’s will be on DVD. The first year has been released on DVD, but never the remaining years. I loved that program and can’t understand why the complete series hasn’t been released.

A: “I have no answer,” said Tom Fontana, the award-winning writer and producer for “St. Elsewhere” and other great shows. The MTM catalogue underwent several ownership changes which seemed to stall DVD releases for some time, but in recent years it’s been owned by 21st Century Fox and we’ve seen complete releases of such MTM drama classics as “Hill Street Blues” and “Lou Grant.”

“I have tried to get the current owner of the rights to release the full series (of “St. Elsewhere”),” Fontana said, “but my attempts have fallen on deaf corporate ears. They won’t tell me why. After ’Lou Grant’ and ’Hill Street’ I thought we’d be next, but, so far, nothing.”

Read Related Topics

© Copyright Times Colonist