The tragic canceling of tv shows we have grown in love with is unfortunate, but it happens to the best of us. After seasons and seasons of getting attached to fictional characters and getting immersed in storylines, we are met with the news that they are no longer with us. The question is: Are the networks the bad guy here? Putting our emotions aside, we investigate the reasons behind shows getting cancelled. It’s mostly about low ratings, but why would a network keep one show with low ratings and cancel another, let’s find out.

The Show Started Off With Low Ratings 

Some shows get a bumpy start with very low ratings. It could be that the premise isn’t very interesting, or the actors are unknown, or notorious at worst. If the show is a comedy, maybe it’s not very funny. We checked lists of shows that got cancelled after one season and most of them aren’t very famous, like the comedy Selfie or the supernatural drama Chambers. Regardless of the reasons, if the show starts off with low ratings, the network might not have many reasons to keep producing it.

The Show is Expensive

Most networks don’t mind making a big budget for a good premise. It can get big quickly like Game of Thrones and be worth the investment. However, if the show is expensive, but the ratings are still low, it’s not really a good gamble. An example could be the OA, which got cancelled after 2 seasons only. It was fairly popular, but the views kept dwindling that it just wasn’t worth it anymore for the network. Another example is Deputy, one of the cancelled Fox shows that had only one season because the fees of the main actor were too expensive compared to the ratings. There are lists online to check the renewed and cancelled shows of 2020 and 2021.

License Fee is High

Networks don’t own TV shows, studios do, and they lease them to networks and streaming services. The studio’s profit from the license fees paid for the network. The network gains the money back from ratings. So, if the ratings are low and the license fee is high, the network will lose its money. If the studio wants to keep the show airing on one network, they reduce the license fee but that doesn’t happen much. In most cases, the network cancels the show, and sometimes, the studio sells it to another network or streaming service like what happened with The Mindy Project.

The Show Has No Chance of Being Syndicated or Streamed

Again, the scenario here is when the ratings are low. Some shows, like Seinfeld, can be binge-watched over and over. So streaming services buy them and networks buy them too after they stop airing. The networks air them at non-primetime hours because primetime is for new shows. This is called syndication and it can’t be applied to every tv show. If the show already has low ratings and no chances of being streamed or syndicated, why keep producing it?

The Network Didn’t Like It

Let’s not forget the materialistic side of things. Networks buy (or lease) shows to gain profit. Sometimes the people at the network aren’t big fans of the tv show and the ratings make things worse. Surprisingly, the opposite can happen, a show can survive for a while, despite the low ratings if the people on the network are fond of it.

The Show Has Been Running for Long

The more, in most cases, is not the merrier when it comes to TV shows. Most TV shows that have been going on for longer than ten years or ten seasons, lose a considerable part of their audience. But even if the ratings don’t go much lower, the show’s cast and crew get higher salaries each year. Sometimes, the studio just can’t afford the budget increase, which happens from season to season and they decide to call it off, sometimes, thankfully.

No one likes it when a show they love is cancelled, but sometimes, the network or the studio has a good reason. A show will not survive long on low ratings, except in a very few cases. For one, if the corporation that owns the show, owns the network. Or if the people at the network and the studio are passionate about the show. In any case, any show is bound to end, this is the sad truth. At worst, you’ll be left with a broken heart and at best there will be a final season or movie where you will get closure.