Years ago, May sweeps meant that the television industry saved the best for last. The networks broadcast non-stop, action packed, cliff-hanging storylines every night of the week, hoping to pull in the largest ratings of the year before announcing which shows would receive pink slips.
Times have changed, and today’s May sweeps ultimately means knowing which shows will return and which shows will be swept away before the season finales have all aired.
Recent years prove that no show is safe: many shows are done after only one season; some shows make it through the toddler years, a minimum of two or three seasons; some programs have aired for years, even decades with multi-generational loyal followers; and, some still await their destiny.
Television’s broom was very busy this year….
One & Done
A Gifted Man, Alcatraz, Are You There, Chelsea?, Awake, Bent, Best Friends Forever, Charlie’s Angels, Free Agents, GCB, How to be a Gentleman, I Hate My Teenage Daughter, Man Up, Missing, Napoleon Dynamite, NYC22, PanAm, Prime Suspect, Ringer, Rob, Terra Nova, The Finder, The Firm, The Playboy Club, The River, The Secret Circle, and Unforgettable
Terrible Twos & Threes
Breaking In and Harry’s Law
Chuck, CSI: Miami, Desperate Housewives, House, and One Tree Hill
While Chuck, the Housewives, Dr. House, and even the town members of Tree Hill had advance notice that the 2011-2012 television season would be their last, CSI: Miami was not awarded the same courtesy. After ten years, Horatio and his team say goodbye. And at a bar no less. Thanks a lot CBS. The series end would have been much better if someone destroyed Horatio’s glasses…
Still Awaiting their Destiny:
Rules of Engagement and The L.A. Complex
On a positive note, not all chivalry is dead: some shows have earned advance notice that next season will be their last. Thank you networks; thank you for allowing the writers to close out a series appropriately for the loyal fans. This doesn’t happen all that often, just ask Law & Order.
Gossip Girl – It may be a short season, only eleven episodes, but at least the Upper East Side characters will wrap up their storylines.
Fringe – Walter, Olivia, and Peter definitely deserve the chance to close out their story appropriately. Thank you, Fox; and Thank You fans for doing your part to keep Fringe alive for one more final season.
And even better, one network picked up another network’s sure to be cancelled series…
Cougar Town – hop on over to TBS this fall to catch new episodes.
Seems a bit insane, doesn’t it? What are the morals of today’s Tele-Tuesday? Don’t get too attached to freshman television series, and no television show is safe from May sweeps.
Which of these cancellations came too soon? Over the years, what television series has been cancelled that you still mourn? Which network do you think sweeps the most shows in the trash before giving the audience a chance to watch week in and week out? I’d love to hear from you!