2023 Has Already Seen Almost As Many TV Shows Canceled As All Of Last Year
The industry and viewers alike face an uncertain, and likely thin fall schedule as cancellations rise and strikes loom.
The television landscape is undergoing an upheaval, with cancellations and uncertainty dominating the headlines. GameSpot's annual tracking of show cancellations reveals a troubling trend. In 2022, 110 shows bid farewell either by cancellation or coming to an end. As of Friday, July 7, the tally this year so far stands at 90 cancellations. The latest casualties include Netflix's Snowflake Mountain, canceled after one season as reported by Deadline on Friday, and HBO's A Black Lady Sketch Show as reported by Variety on Thursday not returning for Season 5.
Adding to the industry's woes is an ongoing writers strike that began on May 2. This strike has led to production delays and a shortage of new shows. Now, news of a potential strike by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has further heightened concerns. Talks between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are set to conclude on July 12. If an acceptable deal is not reached, SAG-AFTRA members, who overwhelmingly voted in favor of a strike, are poised to take to the streets on July 13.
The streaming landscape is increasingly experiencing a disconcerting trend of content removals. Stories about shows and movies being pulled from platforms have become frequent. Just this week, it was revealed that Crater, a sci-fi film produced by the team behind Stranger Things, had been abruptly removed from Disney Plus, sparking outrage given that it had been available for less than two months. Paramount+ also recently unceremoniously purged 10 titles from its streaming service with no notice. Earlier this year, WB Discovery, led by David Zaslav, has been at the forefront of similar removals on Max, while Disney+ and Hulu have recently followed suit.
The heavy surge of cancellations comes amid an expected reduction in overall spending on content by streamers. Ampere analyst Neil Anderson asserted in a Hollywood Reporter piece that a "more cautious approach" by streamers would soon become the new norm, and that is clearly evident in the current landscape.
This all paints an increasingly bleak picture for the upcoming fall TV season. With the rising number of cancellations, the possibility of a strike disrupting production schedules, and the increasing frequency of content removals from streaming services, the industry--and viewers--face an uncertain future.
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