" After being on the air for decades, two TV series (afternoon soap operas) were canceled in 2011. Some viewers had been following these programs all of their lives."

"It's Only A TV Program, After All!"

  Here's one you've probably never thought about.

As you know, network TV shows come and go with regularity.  When a show is canceled those of us in the industry may feel sorry for the cast and crew involved, but most of these people (if they are very lucky) soon find new assignments.

What we may not realize is the impact these cancellations have on many viewers.  I'm talking about the viewers for whom the characters in the dramas. who have been invited into their homes on a regular basis for years, have become, in a sense, friends.

Although this may seem trivial, for thousands of people it isn't.

>> This became obvious when I started reading comments from viewers who suddenly had their favorite show abruptly canceled -- sometimes without any real resolution of the issues involved.

The numbers slid, so the show got the axe.

Viewers had had invested a lot of personal interest and concern in these characters, their relationships, and in their situations. 

" When people would hear the effect this had on some people a common reply was, 'What's the big deal, it's just a TV program after all!' "

 This became apparent with the Firefly series, which was canceled a few years back, resulting in thousands of letters of protest.  So you know what that's about I'll include the following excerpt from another section of this site.


>>TV shows tend to be canceled quickly if they don't immediately garner impressive ratings. Based on a very short broadcast exposure, network programmers can misjudge the potential popularity of a show.

The short, puzzling history of Firefly is worth recalling.

FireflyFirefly was introduced with much fanfare on Fox.  But then it was aired at unexpected times and in an unexpected chronological order. (The two-hour introductory show was aired as the last show.) 

This meant people who were attracted to the show had a hard time finding it in the schedule and understanding the story development.

Firefly was canceled after only eleven of the fourteen produced episodes were aired.

The cast and crew all wanted to stay with the series and there seems to be no question about the quality of the acting. There were no contract or money disputes and most of the cast eventually ended up in hit series on other networks.

The creative genius behind Firefly, Josh Weadon, went on to produce more than one hit show on other networks, not to mention the 2012 record-setting box office success, The Avengers, which he wrote and directed.

After Fox canceled Firefly, DVD sales of the complete series reportedly jumped to the number one spot on Amazon.com, reportedly selling 500,000 copies.

Some who bought the set said, that the best episodes were never aired. The abbreviated series developed a huge cult following with numerous U.S. and Canadian conventions.

Firefly sparked a full length theatrical film, Serenity. (A feature film has never followed a canceled TV series before.) To date, ten books have been written on Firefly, with the 11th in the works.

And finally, Firefly was reportedly voted as the best science fiction series of all time.

So we are left with an obvious question: with all the money spent on the series and the superior talent involved, why didn't the network give the series a chance?

 Some of the most successful TV series in history took a while to find their audiences -- and their best time slots.  The networks believed in them and they stuck by them.

But that was then, and this is now.

-Ron Whittaker

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