The Fate Of 36 Television Shows I’ve Never Heard Of

I will begin this post by admitting I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Oh sure, I know what I like. I know what interests me. That, I know.

But I have no idea how Nielsen ratings work. I don’t understand the whims of  TV execs who decide which shows should stay on the air and which shouldn’t. It seems to me as the number of channels to watch has grown so has the unpredictability if your show will survive another season, let alone another episode.

A few days ago, on, they had a “cover” story about the Fate of Your Fave TV Shows. Apparently, I had a lot of time on my hands. Because I actually clicked through all 92 slides. Not once, but twice. The first time because I was curious. The second time? I simply had to crunch the numbers.

I made a little chart. Two columns: returning and canceled. Then I divided the paper in half. The top half were shows I had heard of. The bottom half where the ones I hadn’t.

I expected the bottom right hand square to be chock full of shows that I hadn’t heard of. After all, they were being canceled because  no one was watching them. Most of all, me. With my high sensibilities and excellent taste I should be the judge of what is on television and what is not. Right?

Apparently. Not.

Of the 92 shows highlighted, I had heard of 60% of the shows listed. Sounds about right. I watch about 60% more television than I should.


Of the 92 shows highlighted, I hadn’t heard of 40%. Again, about right. I wish this number was higher but I can’t lie. I enjoy watching television. (There. I said it.  I feel so much better now.)

What surprised me is that the number of shows that were canceled, those that I had heard of and hadn’t heard of? The numbers were neck in neck.  Twenty percent were canceled. And 20%  of the shows that I had never heard of were returning for another season.


This figure ticked me off.

How in the world did The Cleveland Show (never heard of) and Bob’s Burgers (never heard of)  beat out smart, interesting programs like The Good Guys (watched and loved)  and Detroit 1-8-7 (watched and loved)?

Bradley Whitford + Colin Hanks = Excellent Pairing

I understand 30 Rock and The Office continuing their careers (love them both). But hasn’t Desperate Housewives had its day? And what about Cougar Town? And Celebrity (train wreck) Apprentice? Are you kidding me?

Skins (never heard of) and Traffic Light (never heard of) and Brothers and Sisters (heard of and it was definitely time) were canceled. But you’re bringing back Being Human (never heard of)  and Happy Endings(never heard of but it must be the karma of the show title) ?!?

No rhyme. No reason.

Just the whims of a bunch of suits, sitting around a glass table throwing darts at the television schedule.

That’s how I see it, anyway.

I just have one request.

If I could have the final word on the subject, oh Producer Gods? You’re bringing back Two and A Half Men. Fine. But please say it will be without Charlie Sheen.


Filed under Soapbox, television

14 responses to “The Fate Of 36 Television Shows I’ve Never Heard Of

  1. Agreed about Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks. But I like Cougar Town (for the peripheral characters, not the main one). And Being Human is actually quite thoughtful and deep.

    Yeah, I like TV too.

  2. Another (former?) tv addict here… personally I miss many of the classics I grew up with… but I was never into Desperate Housewives or 30 Rock or many other popular shows…

    But then there are those other housewives. Dare I admit – some of them are my non-guilty pleasure?

  3. I have a retired and impoverished friend in Tennessee, a brilliant woman in a tough spot, who shared with me that she’s only slightly embarrassed that she accepted a Nielsen rating monitor on her television. She wanted them to get a realistic assessment of the worth of their programming. She never turns her television on; saves on electricity that way, so she’s killed two birds with that stone.

  4. I don’t watch most, but mostly because tv has broken my heart. Ever heard of Firefly? Well, that was cancelled after 13 episodes. And yet they have all kinds of crap returning year after year. It makes no sense. 😦

  5. Ummm…I hadn’t heard of about 90% of them. Apparently if it’s not on HGTV I don’t watch it! LOL

  6. My television viewing has diminished greatly, so I have not heard of many, have heard of but not watched many. Desperate Housewives? For the first couple of years, then it got old. Now? Mostly things like American Idol. Mindless shows. Entertainment that doesn’t require thought or emotional investment. Other than who wins on AI. This year I had trouble deciding on one. Last year? Not so much.

  7. I tend to wait for the season DVDs rather than feeling obliged to be at home to watch a certain program. That said, hardly anything ever happens on Monday nights, so I do watch “The Closer” then.

  8. It is. They’re replacing him with Ashton Kutcher. I know this because I read Yahoo articles so I can have a conversation not revolving family or housework.

    I refuse to watch summer TV when they try out a series to see if it’ll fly because my heart has been broken one too many times. Granted I don’t have satalite anymore, so no TV unless it’s online.

  9. I have to admit, I have watched none of the shows you mention. Mostly I don’t watch tv, and these days if there is a series I like, I generally wait and watch it on DVD or stream it from the Internet. But I’ve never understood how it all works, and I suspect I should keep it that way. 🙂

  10. I’ve never heard of most of them either, and haven’t heard of some of your selections, either. I stick with TNT (The Closer) and USA (In Plain Sight, Covert Affairs–and no, it isn’t about cheating) Rizzoli & Isles, and Suits. I like The Glades on A&E. Oh…and Memphis Beat is in there somewhere.

    I saw that Desperate Housewives is going off, if that lightens your mood.

    One of the things that irks me about some of the network shows is that they talk so darned fast. Perhaps my ears are too southern.

  11. I am not much of a TV watcher. I really miss the TV classics of my childhood like Happy Days, Gilligan’s Island, I Love Lucy and then later the TGIF (Perfect Strangers, Mr. Belvedere) night on ABC. These days I will watch a show on DVD or Hulu if I get a chance. But like everything in Hollywood, it is What have you done for me lately – so I am not surprised that these shows get cancelled even after one episode.

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