Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why are some shows cancelled so soon?

It's the Fall Season.  Some new shows have already been given the quick hook (sorry MADE IN JERSEY).  I Got a Friday Question about that that has turned into its own post/rant. 

Joseph Scarbrough posed it:

In the old days, a network would wait until the end of the inaugural run of a new series to determine its ratings, and whether or not the series would be renewed (in other words, if a first season was successful, that would at least ensure a second season); nowadays, it's as if networks feel if seemingly nobody is watching after two episodes, they'll go ahead and cancel. Why? That seems like a waste of everybody's time (especially those who made the show), not to mention, how do they figure a few episodes of a brand new show is going to be enough to bring in huge ratings? That's not even enough time for an audience to invest in the series, let alone build up an audience for it.

First off, it’s always been like that. There was a show in the early ‘70s called TURN ON that was cancelled after one airing.  Some Heather Graham thing, EMILY'S REASONS WHY NOT received the same fate six years ago.  There was a show on the NBC schedule in the late ‘70s called SNIP that the network ultimately never even aired – despite my partner and I almost being hired to write one. (Or maybe that’s why it cancelled.)

With so many viewing options these days networks feel they don’t have the luxury of time anymore. Especially on shows they fall out of love with or never believed in in the first place. (Why would they put on a show they don’t believe in? Commitments, testing, it has a piece of desired talent, they have nothing better.) The second the network feels a show is dead they now yank it. Why throw good money after bad?

If, however, the network believes in the show they will tend to stick with it. We’re seeing that this year with THE MINDY PROJECT, BEN AND KATE, and THE NEW NORMAL.

Will they be rewarded?  Sometimes yes, you get CHEERS.  Sometimes no.  How many chances did CHUCK get?   (Now CHUCK fans may be up in arms, but the truth is it never found a large enough audience.)  

The other thing that makes it difficult to determine what is a hit is that today’s definition is so cloudy. The numbers shows like BEN AND KATE are getting are awful. But do they hold onto enough the desired demo? Do they tonally fit into the night? Are they critical darling so there’s some prestige value in staying with them despite bleak ratings? Look, the bottom line is if a network wants to keep something it can justify it fifteen different ways; if it doesn’t it can find fifteen equally compelling arguments to cancel it.

Remember too, we're now in November Sweeps.  Although they aren't as crucial as they once were, they still are important so networks tend to shuttle shows off the schedule they know will pull them down.

And then there are the unfortunate series that are cancelled simply because they're collateral damage.   

In 1996 our show ALMOST PERFECT was renewed but more because of business considerations. We were given a dreadful time slot – right behind a new Bochco comedy (that's right -- comedy) called PUBLIC MORALS. When another new show on the schedule wasn’t ready to premiere they put us in a different time slot to start the season and we won our time slot both weeks. Then they went to the normal schedule and we were behind the debuting PUBLIC MORALS.

The critics despised PUBLIC MORALS. The reviews were savage. (By the way, they weren’t wrong.) CBS had been taking shit all summer for this show.

The overnights for their premiere were abysmal. And they pulled our numbers way down too. Les Moonves cancelled us both. Just like that. Why did we get the axe? Because he decided to drop the whole notion of comedies in that hour. He threw on a drama instead and there was no room for us. Les told me later that “ALMOST PERFECT was the best show he ever cancelled.” On the one hand that's gratifying to hear, but on the other it's like the girl you were most in love with saying to you, “You’re the greatest guy I never slept with.”

But ALMOST PERFECT was an inherited show (developed and put on the schedule by the previous regime) and not owned by the network. Today, if CBS owned the show and there were already 34 episodes in the can they would find places to keep it on their schedule.

Still, at the end of the day – that’s television. As they said in GODFATHER II: “This is the business we chose.”


Jack Eason said...

Why are some shows cancelled so soon? Perhaps Ken, because even by the abominably low standards of television, both in your country and mine these days, they are crap? :)

Jay S. said...

Seems in some cases networks aren't quite as trigger-happy as they were a few years ago, since duds such as "The Mob Doctor" and "Up All Night" are still airing episodes.

Also, this season we have another show that was cancelled without ever airing - Dane Cook's "Last Caller."

Jay S. said...

Whoops, make that "Next Caller."

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

This post is the perfect argument against FIREFLY fans. They're the most spoiled fans I've ever met.

Fox didn't treat them shabbily. It gave Joss Whedon the chance to produce and air 15 episodes. Most shows wouldn't get such a shot. It even had a big screen film afterwards.

You'd think this would be enough to quiet them, but no. Even the Buffy/Angel fanbase wasn't this fanatic. Self-entitled to the point of annoyance.

Craig Edwards said...

Turn On! aired in the late 60's and was actually cancelled during the first commercial break based on angry calls flooding the network's phones. They were kind enough to let that episode finish airing, however.

Joe Siegler said...

A perfect example of this was "Lone Star" on Fox a few years ago. They had some EPIC HUGE promotion for the series. Then canned it after just two episodes aired. Five more were completed, and they were working on another when that happened. They remain unaired. I refuse to delete my season pass on my TiVo. Just in case they decide to show them. :)

Rich D said...

Eduardo -

There is indeed an argument that FOX treated Firefly shabbily and that affected the show's potential ratings.

The network aired a show from a creator known for weaving ongoing, season-long story and character arcs out of order, making them puzzling in the least and darn near incomprehensible at the most. The show's two-hour premier detailing how all the characters met was the last aired, and three episodes went unaired at the time of cancellation.

I think that the sales of the series on home video and the growing number of fans that being able to view the show in its intended order demonstrates that the network screwed the pooch on this.

(Also, FOX had nothing to do with the film. Whedon took the project to Universal because he was unhappy with his treatment at the studio.)

I am a fan of FIRELY/SERENITY but I wouldn't classify myself as rabid as your average Browncoat. But it still irritates me when I see someone whose arguements against the show seem more to have to do with their feelings about its fandom than about the show itself.

ScottyB said...

OTOH, that's not an entirely bad thing when you consider NBC pulled the plug on 'The Paul Reiser Show' after only 2 episodes last year. Sometimes the suits are actually right and some things really do deserve to die a quick death.

ScottyB said...

As Ken's blog post about his interview with Mr. Littlefield pointed out, the networks seem to be bereft of people with that kind of foresight and long-sight, and some genuinely intelligent, well-written shows (well, at least to us) get shitcanned before their time. But by the same token, the networks *are* a business, and that's how they've always operated, by and large. Jeez, even The Beatles got network notes at one time saying they'll never amount to anything, either.

OTOH, sometimes it's a good thing the network suits are short-sighted. Imagine what we'd be stuck with if some modern-day Littlefield decided to ride out 'Rob' thru thick or thin.

Jee Jay said...

THE PROBLEM WITH 'CHUCK' (lowers arms), the problem with 'Chuck' was, that after the first season of so-so ratings, they kept trying to "fix" the series. But every change took it farther away from the show people liked to begin with and it continually lost viewers.

Actually though it's kind of a case study for a show that the network kept on the air with an eye towards syndication and the necessary 100 eps. (100 weak eps., that is.)

Cap'n Bob said...

The more I read about this, the more convinced I am that no one in TV knows squat. They fumble around in the dark and, like the blind pig, find the occasional acorn.

ScottyB said...

This is why if I was a network stuck with an obviously shitty sitcom from the get-go and wanted to get some ad-dollar mileage out of it, I'd go out of my way to get April Bowlby. Or on the outside, Jennifer Tilly.

MBunge said...

"The network aired a show from a creator known for weaving ongoing, season-long story and character arcs out of order, making them puzzling in the least and darn near incomprehensible at the most."

I saw the "first" episode of FIREFLY and totally understand why Fox didn't want to go with it as the first thing people would see.

FIREFLY wasn't that good and it's because Whedon thought there was some huge audience out there just waiting for his latest production. The truth is that most people just want to be entertained and don't feel obligated to indulge anyone's creative choices. Or is somebody going to tell the DOLLHOUSE was an overlooked classic?


ScottyB said...

@JeeJay has a point about 'Chuck'. I liked it during the first season, when he was just an ordinary average schmuck working a Best Buy help desk with a few interesting co-workers. Then he evolved into a full-fledged secret agent spy, which was kinda like if Greg Garcia turned Earl Hickey into a cultured dude when he re-found his $100,000 scratch-off. I lost all interest after that.

ScottyB said...

"The network aired a show from a creator known for weaving ongoing, season-long story and character arcs out of order, making them puzzling in the least and darn near incomprehensible at the most."

OTOH, that's what I was thinking the first time I saw 'Pulp Fiction'. I have no clue whatsoever what 'Firefly' is or the huge deal about it with some people. If it was worth my time, I'd be too busy wondering how The CW has somehow managed to justify its existence after all these years.

Mac said...

Interesting that "Arrested Development," which got three series before they dropped it, has found a new home on Netflix. It had a small but very devoted following so I suppose there's a guaranteed (if not huge) return - but also it's so highly rated critically that it's a prestige name to have on your roster.

Johnny Walker said...

Ah, Godfather 11. Love that movie!

Mike Schryver said...

I agree with Jay S. that the trigger isn't pulled as quickly these days. There was a time there in the mid-70s into the '80s where shows got axed after 2 or 3 episodes all the time. I'm guessing economics have changed.

And there seemed to be a sea change in the early '70s. I'm thinking of Lee Grant's rant on Johnny Carson about the treatment of her sitcom, FAY. It seemed at the time like it was a pretty new thing for shows to be canceled so quickly and before their full run had aired, famous examples like TURN ON not withstanding.

Jerry Krull said...

Ken, Is it sad that I know that SNIP was the David Brenner sitcom vehicle. He was going to be the owner of a hair salon with a cast of workers and regular customers. Wackiness ensues. Wasn't Johnny Carson involved as the production company?

Anonymous said...

I still miss The Montefuscos and Filthy Rich. And Dusty's Trail. I had quite the taste as a kid. Julie

Johnny Walker said...

Eduardo, I think this is more about you than FIREFLY. The show was loved by people, and it was cancelled. What do you expect them to do? Throw a parade?

Fox completely messed around with Firefly. The truth of the matter is that the back-and-forth between Whedon and Fox went something like this:

Fox: "Hey Whedon, old buddy, old pal. You've made us a stack of cash with Buffy and Angel, got any new shows you'd like to pitch?"

Whedon: "Well, yes actually. I've got this idea for a show that I'd love to do."

Fox: "Great! Let's hear it!"

Whedon: "Well basically it's X".

Fox: "Super! We're looking for X!"

Whedon: "Are you sure? Because I feel pretty strongly about this project and I'm happy to shop it around elsewhere if you don't like it. I'm sure I could come with something else for you if you'd prefer."

Fox: "No sir! That's precisely what we want!"

Cut to six months later... Whedon presents his pilot.

Fox: "Erm. What's this?"

Whedon: "It's X we talked about. Remember?"

Fox: "Yeeeeah. When you said X we were thinking Y. Could you change it?"

Whedon: *bites tongue* "Sure!"

Cut to a few weeks later... Whedon presents his new pilot (written in the time Fox gave him: A weekend).

Fox: "Yeah, it's still too close to X, to be honest. But we'll totally support your show. Honest."

Fox proceeds to not support Firefly, giving it minimal marketing, and placing it in the infamous "Friday night death slot" with no lead in.

They then air the episodes out of order, placing the original pilot a few episodes in.

The ratings suffer.

Fox: "Yeah, this isn't working out. Sorry."

Everyone: "You bastards!"

I don't see how Fox DIDN'T treat them shabbily. Whedon has a talent for building a fanbase. Fox knew this, but they still decided to pull the plug because it wasn't an immediate hit.

I would LOVE for FIREFLY to return, but how this makes me "entitled" or "spoiled" I don't know. It was a great show and I miss it. That's all.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Thanks for enlightening us on the subject Ken, though I apologize that this has triggered something of a rant, it certainly wasn't my intention, I was just genuinely curious about this.

I recall Wayne Rogers mentioning in the 30th anniversary reunion special for M*A*S*H, the difference between M*A*S*H being given a chance during its first season (despite threats of cancelation), and today how after a few episodes, you're gone.

RCP said...

Wikipedia has a detailed account of what happened with Turn-On, which apparently offended people because of its confusing format and sexual content, among other things.

Funnily enough, ABC replaced it with the wholesome The King Family Show, and, afraid of further controversy, turned down Norman Lear's pilot for All in the Family - which was then picked up by CBS.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

@Johnny Walker

I don't see it quite that way. The way I see it, Firefly had a small, but very vocal fanbase.

At the same time, Fox needed to fill the gap left by the X-Files ending. They had no blockbuster drama series to replace it at the time. 24 was still infant.

So, they evidently had a lot riding on Firefly, which was already an expensive sci-fi show. Sadly, it didn't even crack 5 million viewers. It always ranked poorly in Nielsen ratings.

Plus, series pitches tend to differ from the final product. Obviously, Fox had different expectations. They wanted Star Wars. They got Sergio Leone in space, instead.

The way I see it, Firefly was given a pretty fair chance. A real story of Fox treating a show shabbily would be what they did to Futurama that same year.

jcs said...

Interestingly, Peter Gerety and Donal Logue were in "Public Morals". Gerety has been impressing me since "Homicide".

Custom Hotel: Ranked #82 of 301 hotels in Los Angeles according to TripAdvisor.
Ken, were your trying to recreate the atmosphere of "Fawlty Towers"?

Stephen Marks said...

LOL, "poor time slot" always the first excuse for something bad being cancelled.

Gary Mugford said...

Firefly fan checking in ... Eduardo, Fox never showed alll the shot episodes and the ones that it DID show were in the wrong order. The long pilot was actually two mid-season episodes jammed together with, as I understand it, minimal editing. There were other out-of-order episodes to boot. As Jane might have said, "For shure, Fox done did Firefly wrong." Just as the network did to the late, great Keen Eddie. At least in both cases, DVD sets of both shows allowed me to see the 'complete' run and in the right order. It's the reason I started collecting DVD sets. That, and those #&*#^%-ing animated coming attraction ads every show insists on these days.

I ACTUALLY SAW an episode of Snip! Some of the episodes were shown in Australia, and being a big David Brenner fan and having Bridge-playing friends Down Under, I was able to get a Beta Max copy of two episodes, although the second was so bad with dropouts that I never saw the whole thing. Brenner was Brenner, the rest of the cast wasn't all that good, although Leslie Warren looked gorgeous. To be young and still dreaming of such women, sigh.

The quick cancellations of shows goes along with the USA Today reduction of news to a headline and a paragraph and the twitterization of current society. It's like we all have ADD ... or so the networks think. I'm surprised some shows aren't cancelled mid-episode ... with an apology card airing for the last 15 minutes. I mean, doesn't somebody owe us all for that Bosom Buddies re-do doo-doo last fall?

Muzza said...

I didn't realise the Godfather franchise went up to 11. I need to get to the movies.

Anonymous said...

I've just written a book about this very subject. It's just been published by McFarland Publishing an called SINGLE SEASON SITCOMS 1948-1979 - A COMPLETE GUIDE. Available at www.mcfarlandpub.com and all other outlets on-line.

D. McEwan said...

As it happens, I was on the set of Laugh-In the night of Turn-On's sole airing. It was, of course, another George Schlatter show. Around five to 9 PM that evening I saw Geroge Schlatter and company leave the studio to go watch the broadcast. I had no access to a TV to watch it, so I stayed in the studio, reading until everyone came back in at 9:35 to resume shooting Laugh-In.

I will never forget George's usual jovial demeanor as he went off to watch it, nor the funereal air he and everyone else had on their faces when they came dragging back in 40 minutes later. All the joy and excitement had been sucked out of everyone.

Now the show they watched was no different than it had been whenever George had looked at the finished product, OK'd it as done, and sent it off to air, so the only explanation I can think of for their arriving back acting like all their mothers had just died had to be that hed gotten the word that there would never air an episode 2. This lends credence to the idea that it was cancelled during its first broadcast, at least, during it's west coast airing. If it had been cancelled during its east coast airing, they'd have already looked depressed before the broadcast in L.A. began. I've always found it weird that, though I was in the room with George Schlatter just before and just after it aired, I never got to see it myself. The book I was reading was good though, so maybe I was the winner.

D. McEwan said...

Oh, and let's not forget (Well, actually, let's forget) that Dane Cook was to have a sit-com this season, and the network cancelled it in August I believe, before it ever aired at all. I strongly suspect that there, the network made the right, albeit belated, decision. The real question is why greenlight a Dane Cook series in the first place? There's not a chance it would be any good. Dane Cook would be in it.

Michael Fox said...

Here's a Friday question: Have you ever considered writing or producing a web-based series? It seems like there's so much competition for a network slot, that to me it makes sense, if you have the talent and experience, that making your own series would be more desirable than fighting with a network or a studio and losing.

Unanonymous said...

I wrote the episode guide for "Almost Perfect" which you can find on the web somewhere. I'm pretty sure that within the guide I took a couple not-so-thinly-veiled swipes at Les over the way he treated your show. The funny thing is, CBS later bought the site that hosted that guide a couple years after I recused myself from it... and those comments are still there.

The one thing that really irritated me was the "Dating for Ratings" episode. Despite Kevin Kilner not being in it (and me not being happy over him not being on the show anymore), I thought it was the best episode of the entire series. It never aired on CBS. It was the next one in line to be broadcast when the axe fell and the show got yanked. The lead-in the last time it was broadcast on CBS was of course Rhea Perlman's "Pearl" and that episode guest starred Rhea Perlman, so, hey, let's just pull the show a couple days beforehand because it's not like her being on it and it airing after her own show would make the ratings go up or anything.

Unanonymous said...


"Snip" was from James Komack's production company. Komack created it (read: "borrowed" it from Warren Beatty and Robert Towne) and Stan Cutler developed it and wrote the pilot. They were also behind the Pat Morita gem of the same year, "Mr. T and Tina," which, astoundingly, did air. I believe it was dumped because Mr. Least Objectionable Programming took over for The Mad Programmer (the guy who canned Lee Grant's show after 3 broadcasts and was rewarded with that wonderful moniker from her forever -- and who got fired right around the time she won an Academy Award for the film that Komack and Cutler "borrowed"). NBC presidents sure had great nicknames in the '70s, didn't they? I watched a couple episodes at the Paley Center a few years ago and I had some good laughs.

Milwaukee said...

Nothing to do with this post, but this is a funny look at how movies are made:

Phillip B said...

Just in case someone wants to update the Dane Cook entry on Wikipedia, Next Caller was cancelled in mid October after completing 4 episodes. NBC had it slotted as mid season replacement.

I'll take very small credit for being among the 12 or 13 million people who correctly predicted it would never see the light of day - in a comment to this blog in September.

Just for the satisfaction of it, go to nbc.com and search for Dane Cook and try to view the links in the results. They've tried to scrub the site of his presence, including taking down video of his time as guest host of SNL, but a few traces remain...

cadavra said...

FIREFLY's fate was preordained by BRISCO COUNTY, JR., another blend of western and fantasy, which Fox aired in the same wretched time slot (Fridays at 8). Despite winning said slot most weeks, it was canned after one season. The outrage prompted TNT to pick up the reruns, which they stripped for literally years before it finally came out on DVD. It probably would've exploded in its second season, but alas, we'll never know, since Bruce Campbell is now too old to revive the character and Julius Carry has passed away.

YEKIMI said...

For George Schlatter's take on "Turn-On" you can watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbz3irCcMEo

Jeffro said...

Goodness! Is that our very own 44th President of the United States in the lower-right of that photo above (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-5To354GyNGg/UIwjnP5IRkI/AAAAAAAAOXI/3PKTivtgZxQ/s1600/public_morals-show.jpg)?!

Brian Phillips said...

I have the Fall Preview TV guide from the year of "Snip" and I remember being baffled that I never saw it.

"Daddy's Girls" with Dudley Moore didn't last more than one or two airings.

I think that "Public Morals" may have aired longer in the UK than it did here. I was going to watch it, after my wife emerged from another room in the house with a stunned look on her face, saying, "You HAVE to see this." I never did get the chance.

Two small notes: with few exceptions, has anyone noticed that gay men in Steven Bochco shows are exTREMEly effeminate?

Secondly, to Jeff, no, that doesn't look like President Obama. However, for those of you who watched the ill-fated show "Snoops" with Tim Reid and Daphne Maxwell-Reid, which seemed to be so hastily put together that a little girl in the credits never appeared in the show, you may have noticed Vice President Al Gore, who exhorted Tim Reid's character to "Stay cool".

Inconvenient, but true.

Brian Phillips said...

Also, let's not forget "Dear Diary" (which I have yet to see!!) with Bebe Neuwirth. It was an unsold pilot that got shown theatrically and ended up winning an Oscar.

Barry Traylor said...


As someone else has already posted about Firefly Fox did not air all 15 episodes and the ones they did air were aired out of sequence. I am a far cry from a Browncoat nor am I a rabid fan of the show but I enjoyed it enough to buy the dvd.

Rob said...

The Melba Moore sitcom "Melba" premiered on CBS the night of the Challenger disaster to horrid ratings and was yanked after one telecast (but was burned off at the end of the summer).

Also, Glenn Frey's "South of Sunset", Rue McClanahan's "Apple Pie", Joe Namath's "The Waverly Wonders", "The Sanford Arms" and "The Paula Poundstone Show" were canned within weeks of premiering.

Roy Perkins, impartial dogcatcher said...

It is actually common for the pilot of a series to NOT be the first aired. This is done usually because the episode is considered atypical of the series (because roles were recast, or changes were made in the premise, or all of the episode is spent setting up the situation rather than showing the characters in action), or because the network thinks other episodes are better and thus more likely to hook viewers. To say that doing this dooms a series to quick cancellation is extremely naive. After all, among the series to which this happened are GUNSMOKE and LAW & ORDER.

MBunge said...

"Fox: "Hey Whedon, old buddy, old pal. You've made us a stack of cash with Buffy and Angel, got any new shows you'd like to pitch?""

Okay, here's the problem. Neither Buffy nor Angel were big successes by Fox standards, let alone NBC, CBS or ABC. Huge critical acclaim and pop culture relevance? Sure. Big ratings? No.

If Whedon thought he could step onto a much bigger stage and just keep doing the same tricks he did at the WB or the CW isn't anybody else's fault.


Mike Doran said...

My memory of the '50s and '60s, my growing-up-with-TV years, is that even the lowest-rated shows got at least half a season - thirteen weeks back then - to try and build some kind of audience.
Check out TV history, and you can find any number of shows that started slowly, then gradually built a respectable-sized following; The Dick Van Dyke Show is the classic example.
Dropping shows after only one or two airings was very rare, because so much money had been spent already, and the ad time had been sold; the network brass in those days were closer to real showmen then the number-crunchers of today, "going with their guts".

In a way, I believe Turn-On was the real start of panic cancellation.
The ABC affiliates (and there were far fewer of them in 1969) bailed in record numbers during that first show, leaving ABC no real choice except to cancel. I remember that it took them a while to get The King Family up and running, and they had to go with long movies for a few weeks.
Back then, TV Guide came out on Tuesdays. the listing for the second episode of Turn-On appeared just before the Wednesday show aired, announcing that the guests next week would be Robert Culp and his then-wife France Nuyen.
The listings for the following week were already in print, even after the cancellation: the third Turn-On was to feature Sebastian Cabot (I will wonder to the end of days what that show looked like).
Comes to that, I wonder if George Schlatter - or anyone - has saved any or all of Turn-On.
Given what TV gets away with nowadays, that might make a very educational DVD set ...

Johnny Walker said...

@Eduardo Jencarelli, now you're just making things up *rolls eyes*

@Mike, Fox did great from Buffy and Angel. Ratings had little to do with them, as both shows aired on The WB.

MBunge said...

"@Mike, Fox did great from Buffy and Angel. Ratings had little to do with them, as both shows aired on The WB."

Are you a Fox executive? Joss Whedon's accountant? I'm looking at the ratings both shows got, which were below cancellation level at every other broadcast network except UPN. I'm sure Fox made money off the shows, but the idea that Whedon was or was seen as some sort of cash cow at the time of FIREFLY is without a factual basis. Admired creator? Hell yes. Commercial superstar? Not quite.


Mike said...

After seeing Nancy Travis on Becker, I'm guessing Almost Perfect was not very good. The movie with Kelly Hu might be worth watching though.

Mike said...

Buffy and Angel were on WB not Fox. So it was Whedon's greed in going to the big network that got him.

Nat Gertler (Sitcom Room alum) said...

There was an aside in the piece about a comedy from Steve Bochco, as if that's an unlikely thing. While Bochco had a number of failures in that regard (as he did with dramas), he also had some success - Doogie Howser, MD, ran four seasons... and looking at some recently, is actually pretty well done.

Unknown said...

Really interesting. Especially the part about the various considerations that now go into what constitutes a hit show. They say that CNN gets to charge more for ad time than Fox News because, while Fox News has a larger audience, CNN's audience is more desirable to advertisers. I believe this is how they kept 30 Rock on the air as well. It will be interesting to see how these considerations further change as more of the audience moves toward DVR and online viewing.