If you tuned into WNBC last night at 10 p.m. you may have discovered that NBC’s The Black Donnellys has been canceled and in its place the supposedly funny Thank God You're Here. We loved the gritty drama and the fact that it was filmed on location in the city. As sort of the booby prize, we are getting the rest of the series online, but still that doesn’t really satisfy.
Now this is all part of a larger trend seen across all theof canceling shows without letting them build an audience – something all the networks are guilty of. Remember either of these from earlier this season - The Nine on ABC or Smith on CBS?
Ironically, NBC has in the past incubated some really good quality shows and let them develop an audience. Hill Street Blues and Homicide: Life on the Street are two good examples of this nurturing of quality programming in the hopes that it would build an audience. However, there has been an overall paradigm shift into immediate results and we do know that NBC-Universal’s “NBC 2.0” cuts favor cheaper programming like game shows and “reality” shows which has really changed the landscape of broadcast television.
We’re starting to wonder if maybe a different model is needed. Perhaps taking a page from the British playbook and having fewer episodes per season would work. Possibly taking a model that works out side of American English language programming is that of the Spanish language telenovellas, which has short series runs. Apparently doing it on the cheap didn’t work, as the MyNetworkTV debacle proved, so maybe the answer is doing short run high quality shows and maybe doing a second series if the show works. This way viewers won’t be left in the lurch anymore.