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Why Do the Networks Cancel New Shows So Quickly?

Lone Star? Gone. My Generation? Gone. The next new fall TV series on the chopping block? NBC just shut down production on Outlaw, so yes, even a Jimmy Smits drama can get the heave-ho after just a few weeks.

Why are the networks so quick to pull the plug on shows they’ve pumped millions of dollars into? How do they decide, after just two airings in the case of Lone Star, that a show isn’t likely to catch on (or that they don’t want to spend the money to wait around and find out if it will)?

Check out Advertising Age’s article “The Calculus of Canceling TV Shows,” a good explanation of what makes the networks tick when it comes to deciding how much time they’re going to give new series to make their marks on the schedule. Ratings, DVRs, DVDs and international markets all factor in, but, as with most things, you can shorthand the explanation to the fact that it’s all about the benjamins.

By the way, the next shows likely to bite the dust after Outlaw, according to TV by the Numbers (the go-to source for series ratings info and analysis): ABC’s The Whole Truth and Detroit 1-8-7 and Fox’s The Good Guys, all shows that sounded great in theory and casting …

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