It’s time to save our shows once again: 24 of them are among this year’s crop of endangered network series.
Included in the list for 2022: ABC’s remake of “The Wonder Years”; CBS’ “Magnum Pi”; all of NBC’s comedies, including “Cannon” and “Young Rock”; Mayim Bialik’s Fox sitcom “Call Me Cat,” now in its second season; and six CW series, including “Legends of Tomorrow,” “Batwoman” and the new spinoff “All American: Homecoming.”
It’s the 25th anniversary of USA Today’s exclusive Save Our Show poll, which gives viewers a voice over whether the two dozen TV series get another lease on life between renewals and cancellations: a slot on the network’s 2022-23 schedule. , which they’ll announce in mid-May. Lists are not mere speculations; They are based on reports from top insiders on the status of prime-time series.
But the TV business (and all entertainment) has changed radically since 1998, when readers first clipped and mailed a form to our newspaper. Subsequently, how many people watched a show when it first aired—and the audience before how well a show was held—was the primary currency of judging its success. And network TV was still dominant in the pre-streaming era.
Eventually, the poll went online, where it drew interest from loyal fan communities and was credited with saving the series “Timeless” which was canceled by NBC in 2017, when the sci-fi series won two consecutive polls, leading to the first second season. In and then a wrap-up movie. Last year’s winner: NBC’s “Zoes Extraordinary Playlist,” a musical drama that was canceled anyway but was revived by the Roku Channel with a Christmas movie.
These days, many more factors go into renewal decisions: not only Nielsen ratings, but also profitability, who owns the program (and therefore controls the lucrative streaming rights), and the number of digital and delayed viewership that can grow for weeks or months. can.
“In today’s day and age, it’s really about watching the long tail and being more patient,” says Frances Berwick, president of NBCUniversal’s entertainment network.
But that doesn’t mean that creativity and critical acclaim aren’t a factor.
“The measure of success is constantly evolving,” says Michael Thorne, president of entertainment at Fox. “If we believe in the show and the creators of the show, we are more likely to give it the benefit of the doubt” — and another season.