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11/20/14

Hardly knew you: Getting your show pulled after a few episodes pales in comparison to 'one and done'

Right around this time of the year, most of the television networks have a fairly strong idea which shows will make it to spring and which ones won't see the new year.
Patience isn't always a virtue as it relates to those would be network executives and their penchant for axing a show with low ratings even after only a handful of episodes. Television is a hit and miss proposition and always has been.
In some instances low ratings initially don't mean a whole lot as the show attempts to cultivate an audience, even if those would be viewers are nowhere to be found in the beginning, and critics feast on the trials and tribulations each show faces.
Take "Seinfeld" for instance, perhaps the greatest example of critics and audiences getting it wrong about a new show. "Seinfeld" was bashed almost immediately for its non existent plot lines, stories about "nothing" and acting from its leading man that was average at best.
But "Seinfeld" eventually transformed from cast away to television royalty after nine superb seasons and a legacy as one of the greatest shows of all times.

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So yes, critics and fans alike aren't soothsayers but any means. They're wrong, too.
Even with "Seinfeld" being the one example writers, directors and actors of these would be canceled shows point to as reason to take a "wait and see" mentality, the brass at the networks live and die by ratings and key demographics to ultimately sell advertising and make more money for themselves and their bosses.
And, quite frankly, some shows are dogs from the moment the director yells for action. Instead, what those directors get is lifeless and lame, which leads to an early exit after only a half dozen or so shows.
The real kicker are the shows that don't last more than one episode. Yes, that actually has happened, when a show only goes on for one night and never sees the light of day again.
That has to be quite the proverbial punch in the gut for the creators of a show, particularly knowing that their idea was good for about 30 minutes or one hour, but failed so miserably with a first impression that one and done almost seems like too much airtime.
Reality television always is good for the majority of these messes, whether the show's premise is about a model becoming a news anchor or a bunch of ungrateful relatives and family fighting over money left in a will (yes, these are real).
Sprinkled in with the reality TV garbage are actually network sitcoms and dramas that certainly won't be having a Season 1 DVD out any time soon, unless of course you can sell one disc and that's it.
The true magic of making a TV show that works isn't one that comes easily. Shows that you believe are home runs often disappoint, and surprise hits are what every network executive dreams about when he takes a chance on something that doesn't appear to be a lock (see "Seinfeld).
Those that only have one episode on the books is a chapter that is woefully and thankfully closed.

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