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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Go Fox Yourself
Monday, May 16, 2011

Fox has become the runaway bride of network television. It lets us get really invested in great shows only to leave us at the altar by canceling those shows once we’ve fallen in love with them. Personally, I’m starting to think they get off on disappointing people. They make so much money from American Idol, Glee and the NFL that inside their offices their big hobby is seeing how many people they can upset while still making millions. After last week’s announcement that they’re dropping one of my favorite shows, Human Target, along with fellow dramas Lie to Me and The Chicago Code, I’m officially done with the disappointment. I don’t care how good a show looks, if it’s on Fox I’m not going to watch it. According to TV Tropes this is something called The Firefly Effect, and looking at Fox’s recent, and not so recent, history, there’s ample reason to feel this way about the network

Fox has never really had a grip on what people like. They rely too much on Nielsen ratings. While those ratings are the only concrete way a network can attempt to figure out how many people are watching a given program, there’s nothing saying those ratings are coming from the right houses. A quick scan of the internet, however, will tell you which shows are being talked about, and which have the most passionate fans. Combining both Nielsen ratings and personal research would give a more accurate reading of which shows are actually successful, but that requires work, and something tells me higher ups would rather have something easy that they can refer to than actually digging into what’s actually drawing viewer interest. I will admit, it’s also hard to sell ad time based on anything other than a number.

Oddly, Fox doesn’t seem to look at DVR ratings. If they did they’d notice shows like Dollhouse, which I loved and feel was cancelled far too soon, was extremely popular with people who didn’t happen to be home when it was on.

Dollhouse was originally my “last straw” with Fox. I was extremely upset when they cancelled the Joss Whedon show. Human Target, however, drew me back in. Earlier in the year I wrote about how I thought Fox’s ridiculous scheduling of the show made it look like they were trying to kill it rather than save it. Not surprisingly, they killed it.

This is the same network that killed Firefly, hence the name The Firefly Effect, Tru Calling, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Arrested Development, The Ben Stiller Show, Brimstone, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. and The O.C., far too quickly. It’s also the network that gave Futurama and Family Guy the boot, not realizing the mistake they made until Cartoon Network started airing old episodes and drawing a huge following, and huge praise, for doing so. The success of the X-Files and 24 on Fox were aberrations.

Ironically, the network that gives most shows their walking papers far too soon has let The Simpsons sit in their Sunday night schedule for far too long. Yes, I understand that The Simpsons basically saved Fox, giving them something to hang their hat on when they were so far in fourth place among the big four networks that it was embarrassing. That being said, the show’s time passed years ago. What was once cutting edge is now considered family fare as it basically lost all relevancy once South Park became a hit.

Fox doesn’t care what I think, though. I am not a Nielsen family, therefore I don’t count in their eyes. I’m simply a guy who likes good television. Television that has dynamic, well rounded, characters and well written plotlines both within each episode and that continue from one episode to the next.

I am now officially done with Fox as a network. Because I’m a football fan I have no choice but to watch my Giants on Fox, but I refuse to watch any episodic show on the network until the higher ups change the way they do business. I refuse to be left at the altar again.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:29 AM  
  • At 10:36 AM, Blogger Sleepwalkas said…

    i too am extremely upset that "FireFly Fox" canceled a lot of good shows this season. Human Target, Lie to Me, Chicago Code was and if another network picks them up still is a good show that they shouldn't have thought twice about renewing them for another season. Raising Hope was kinda funny also.
    i've watched every episode of all of these shows and now i will never get that time back.
    Thanks "Fox" network, not only is your broadcast news bias now you have to let me down by canceling 4 very good shows...smh
    If only we could go back to the "Married with children" days when they actually took risk by believing and supporting good shows.

  • At 8:36 PM, Blogger Frank Z said…

    I still haven't gotten over the loss of Arrested Development. As for Dollhouse, I discovered it on NetFlix and was very surprised that it was cancelled. That was one of the best shows I've seen on Fox in a long time. Fox are a bunch of boneheads for cancelling all of these good shows!

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