Monday, 1 December 2014

Is Something Wrong with A&E?

You have a show, it's the highest-rated series on your network and it has gathered a large following. So what do you do? You cancel it. Does that make sense to you? Welcome to A&E: a cable network that has become so bad it makes Lifetime look watchable.

I am, of course, referring to the infamous cancellation of Longmire. Up until now, I assumed that the model for television series was that as long as a show gets ratings, everything is alright. Why else do you think the KardashIdontgiveacrap franchise has lasted so long? But apparently, A&E is saying that if a show skews an older audience then your other offerings, it can still be cancelled. What kind of logic is that? So what happens when Bates Motel starts targeting an older audience? Are they gonna cancel that too?

And don't get me started on the "production cost" excuse. If A&E didn't waste so much money on forgettable reality shows, they'd still have enough to spend on another season. And we're not talking Storage Wars, The First 48, Beyond Scared Straight, or Duck Dynasty. We're talking about the shows I've never heard about or cared about because, odds are, no one else did either.

Not even A&E cares, because most of the shows I didn't mention (and there were a LOT) were probably cancelled after just one season. Yet, every five seconds they introduce another reality show that will inevitably suffer the same fate. That's the problem with reality TV; it's a paradox that wastes our time and the network's money. The only way for a show to survive is if the people it focuses on are worth watching.

What A&E should have done from the beginning was focus their attention on the shows that were getting money and the shows people wanted to see. My Lifetime quip was not an insult; that is exactly what that network is doing. While it is very sad that Lifetime has fallen in the scripted area, the fact that they kept Devious Maids and canned Pretty Wicked Moms shows that they at least have an idea on what works and what doesn't. It's a small hope that the network won't become as bad as it's competition.

But with A&E, I see no hope. It's like I don't even know what it's supposed to be anymore. Is it a entertainment network or a reality TV and drama dump? All I know is, it was better off being a crime network.



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