The November 2023 Renewals, Cancellations, Un-Orders and Removals Update

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(Welcome to the Entertainment Strategy Guy, a newsletter on the entertainment industry and business strategy. I write a weekly Streaming Ratings Report and a bi-weekly strategy column, along with occasional deep dives into other topics, like today’s article. Please subscribe.)

As I wrote in my last edition of “Renewals, Cancellations, and Un-Orders” in September, sometimes flops get renewed for future seasons. Usually, they get cancelled. 

And the reactions to both can be hilarious. 

Take Warwick Davis. He thinks it’s embarrassing (“#embarrassing”!) that Disney pulled Willow from Disney+, so of course he took to social media to vent his anger. 

But fans didn’t love Willow (it has a 5.7 on IMDb, despite 23% of fans giving it ten stars vs. 16% 1 star votes, which actually means that most fans hated it), but regardless, most people just didn’t watch this reboot. (It never made the Nielsen top ten charts.) Based on the budget—it doesn’t look cheap—I anointed it one of my “Bombs of the Year of 2022”. 

And yes, streamers should cancel expensive flops. 

Then again, can you blame Warwick David for not knowing the ratings for his show? I mean, reporting on his tweet, neither Deadline nor Forbes nor TV Line nor Entertainment Weekly nor IGN nor Variety nor Collider nor The Wrap nor The AV Club nor Games Radar nor Screen Rant nor the Escapist Magazine (so basically, everyone?) mentioned this show’s dismal, awful ratings, probably because it would have undercut the outrage, and outrage generates clicks. 

“Disney cancelled an unpopular show that lost a ton of money!” just doesn’t move the social media needle.

(Props to GameSpot, who correctly called it a “less-than-popular show”, which is accurate!)

On a lighter note, earlier this year in a sketch on SNL, Pete Davidson, who enjoys making fun of himself, openly made fun of how no one watched his Peacock show, Bupkis. This self-awareness is refreshing! (Ironically, his show got renewed…)

Unfortunately, for now, it seems like the Warwick Davises of the world are winning; people still don’t know that streaming ratings exist or they conveniently ignore them if they don’t fit the narrative/tone that a writer is going for. 

That’s why this newsletter tries to highlight the streaming ratings (all of them) and explain the what the data says. So with all that out of the way, on to the latest edition of “Renewals, Cancellations and Un-Orders”, but using data, not-clickbait outrage. 

Popular Shows That Got Renewed

Hulu renewed Only Murders in the Building and The Bear; Netflix renewed Sweet Magnolias. Since all three shows are popular, this makes sense. Same goes for Peacock’s Based on a True Story and Netflix’s One Piece getting renewed for sophomore seasons. (Based on a True Story was a rare Peacock show that made the Nielsen charts.) Hulu ordered more seasons of Futurama, which also made the ratings charts (a rarity for adult animation, as we’ll see later). 

Netflix renewed Alice in Borderland, the rare foreign-language TV show to make the streaming charts. That said, the last season came out in December, so I’m not sure what caused the delay. 

Unsurprising Cancellations

Just last week, Netflix cancelled three adult animated comedies, Agent Elvis, Farzar, and Captain Fall. Nearly two years ago, I wrote about how adult animation is overrated as a genre, and since then, I haven’t seen much to change my mind, despite some industry trades calling it “red hot” or “bankable”. As I’ve written each time, yes, the budgets for these shows tend to be lower, so the ROI can be higher…but then why are so many of these shows getting cancelled? Why is the one recent hit a legacy show (Futurama)?

Not to be out done by Warwick Davis, when Wellmania got cancelled, the star of the show said on Instagram:

Netflix said it’s something about numbers. Sure. I thought it smashed it but I don’t understand how it works,” she said.

Well, I can explain how it works. Shows with lots and lots viewers tend to get renewed. Shows like Wellmania, which didn’t make any of the ratings charts I track, tend to get cancelled, because not enough people watched them. Streamers and studios can’t afford to make shows that don’t get enough viewers to justify their budgets. 

Here’s how you know this show wasn’t popular:

  • Do you know who the star of Wellmania is?
  • Or do you know what Wellmania is?
  • Or even what streamer it was on?

The rest of this article is for paid subscribers of the Entertainment Strategy Guy, so please subscribeWe can only keep doing this great work with your support.

The Entertainment Strategy Guy

The Entertainment Strategy Guy

Former strategy and business development guy at a major streaming company. But I like writing more than sending email, so I launched this website to share what I know.


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