This year’s cancellations at ABC, for the most part, confused me. While many of the so-called comedies return, many of the dramas were cancelled. That led me to question ABC’s intent. Even Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D was renewed for a limited run. Now, as of Tuesday, June 5, 2018, we learn that FreeForm is cutting back on dramas and cutting Shadowhunters. My question is: Why? The only explanations I can come up with are below.
- Actor Contracts: While some shows like Grey’s Anatomy remain, the show has changed actors so many times that almost (if any) of the original cast remains. The most expensive component of any television show are actors’ salaries. With many of the shows with actors up for renewal, you have to wonder if the cast cost was the problem. The eight characters who made Once Upon a Time a success had contracts up for renewal. Kiefer Sutherland’s contract had to include a big pay clause. And let’s face it. Most of the hour long shows that survive are what I call “ShondaLand” favorites. Let’s face it. They could bring back a new version of Once Upon a Time in the future with new actors and less expense on contracts.
- Special effects on programs: Let’s face it. Blue/green screen projects are more expensive than a simple three camera set up and more time consuming. Was it because of this that some of the shows were pulled? If so, maybe it’s time to support good production values than sticking with methods that have been used and cheaper.
- Location, location, location: Every time a show does location filming it is expensive. Not only do you have to pay the show’s expenses but also for crowd control, shutting down streets, damage to property, etc. Many of the hour long dramas do not depend on fixed sets so could this be an expense that networks hate.
- The Rise of Reality: Programs like The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol has a much lower overhead. Who wouldn’t chose this over a more expensive 60 minute show. Honest answer: Me. I want stories that I can relate to and while I watch Dancing with the Stars, I decide which celebrities I was to see. I readily admit that I didn’t watch a single edition of the athletes edition.
Whether these are contributing factors or not, ABC will never tell us. It’s just funny that most of their new programming will be 3 camera shots instead of the more expensive green/blue screen shows.