The networks will play a variety of pop hits during their TV upfront presentations next month, but the only song that really should be part of the soundtrack that is The Lego Movie’s “Everything is Awesome.” After all, each of the the network executives who take the stage will be full of optimism that their new crop of shows will finally be the ones that take them to the top.
But as I wrote at Adweek, everything is not awesome, even for the top network in adults 18-49 (which will again be ABC). Before we hear a new batch of (at least partially) empty upfronts promises, I looked back at the five worst predictions from last year’s presentations. Among them: then Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly’s declaration that Jump of the Century and Hieroglyph will be airing soon on the network:
Reilly was far from the only one to disappear from Fox shortly after the upfronts. He touted two programs to advertisers that were canceled before they ever made it to air: straight-to-series pickup Hieroglyph (Fox pulled the plug a month later) and Jump of the Century, in which two rival stuntmen would attempt Evel Knievel’s failed jump across Idaho’s Snake River Canyon (it was scrapped last July). “The power of broadcast really shines through when there’s urgency to view,” Reilly said of Jump of the Century. Of course, it also really shines through when the shows are actually broadcast.
There’s a lot more silly predictions where that came from, so sure to read the rest of the story.
The network presidents spent much of 2014 bragging about, and defending, their various programming and scheduling decisions, no matter how foolish some of them turned out.
But some of those proclamations were so outrageous that they earned a well-deserved spot on this list of the 10 most ridiculous statements network presidents made this year. (I wanted to call this their “10 Biggest Lies of 2014,” but they actually believed at least some of these things to be true at the time they said them.)
From “Mulaney is the next Seinfeld!” to “We love Bill Cosby, and his troubles will sort themselves out,” see how many of your favorites made the list. And if you think Kevin Reilly, who stepped down as Fox entertainment chairman in May, is going to figure prominently … you would be correct.
On Friday, Oct. 24, ABC finally put Manhattan Love Story out of its misery, making it fall’s first canceled new series. It’s the longest we’ve gone into the fall season without a cancellation since 2003, when Fox waited until Oct. 28 to pull the plug on Luis, after five episodes.
At Adweek, I explain why the networks were so patient this fall:
“The growing truth is that picking winners today isn’t as simple as looking at the overnight ratings,” CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler said this summer. And unlike last year, when the networks paid that idea lip service but still quickly moved to cancel several low-rated shows, they’ve actually been practicing what they preach.
Tying in to that Adweek story, I also compiled the first shows to be canceled each fall since 2000 — along with what day they were canceled, and how many episodes had aired — which I was surprised to find that no one else had done previously. (Especially for the earlier shows, that information was tougher to dig up than I had anticipated.) Relive the members of TV’s least prestigious club, from Tucker to Do Not Disturb to (sniff) Lone Star to Lucky 7.
Viewers are taking longer than ever to watch TV shows, but when it comes to news series, networks don’t have the luxury of waiting several days or weeks for audiences to sample them and decide whether or not they want to see more. That’s why the pilots for several new series are being released weeks and even months before they premiere. As I wrote at Quartz,
Broadcast networks insist that they now program year-round (and indeed, have been doing just that), but almost all of their biggest shows still debut during the same two-week period in late September and early October. This makes it especially brutal for new shows to find an audience, so the online premieres gives viewers an early opportunity to sample them and, the networks hope, get hooked and start spreading the word before the shows enter the TV equivalent of Thunderdome.
I question whether viewers who watch and like the A to Z pilot will still be interested when the show actually premieres in October, but until the broadcast networks stop premiering all their fall shows in the same two week period, they’ll need all the help they can get.