May 22 2016

2016 TV series cancellations by the numbers

While not as harsh as previous years, this was still not a good year for cancellations on the TV networks.

With the cancellations over, and the upfronts completed showing off the new series, it’s time to look over what happened at the networks this season.


A total of 42 shows met their end this season, making it the biggest bloodbath since I started keeping track.

Cancellation Breakdowns

First Season Shows

Of the 41 shows canceled, 23 of them were brand new. What can we learn from this? New shows really did not speak to viewers this year. The public is becoming more discerning about what it sets aside time for, and the networks just keep putting up formulaic show after formulaic show. This upcoming season also looks to be filled with new shows that aren’t long for this world.


For clarification, these are shows of all ages, and not just first seasons, this also goes for the dramas and reality shows. Lets face it, comedies were a mess this year as they have been for a while. The networks seem completely incapable of discovering humor that will click with an audience and what won’t.


ABC needs help in the drama department and quick.


And this is the pay off: Reality shows are cheap to make. Don’t get fooled by million dollar prizes, they’re still insanely cheap to make when compared to a comedy, and even more so when compared to a drama. Despite declining ratings on these shows, they are absolute cash cows.

The Outlook for the 2016/2017 Season

Things are not going to be any easier this season. The crops of shows that are upcoming is a whole new slew of shows that just left me cold. There is nothing that is really standing out to me as a surefire hit, and that’s not a good thing. And with overall viewership of network television having dropped yet again, the pool of potential viewers is dwindling. Every network needs a breakout hit.

The networks have got to look a bit deeper at how things are going and begin to realize it’s time for things to change. One thing to remember is that every time a show is canceled, hundreds of people are put out of work. This isn’t some game, these are people’s livelihoods at stake.

If those last two paragraphs sound familiar it’s because I used them in this same report last year, and with 42 cancellations, apparently I’m not far off.

UPDATE 5/25/16: CBS has canceled Limitless. I have updated the numbers.

share tweet share

TV | | | |