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TV Cancellation Study Reveals How Controversial Cuts Are Affecting Audiences

A new study reveals that the constant and unexpected TV cancellations of the streaming era are sowing seeds of doubt in audience members.

Recent TV cancellations have affected viewers’ willingness to even start watching a television series, a new study shows. Many popular or big-budget television series have been axed left and right across network and streaming platforms over the course of the previous year. This includes one of the most recent cancellations, Disney+’s Willow sequel series, which brought back Warwick Davis as the title character from the 1988 fantasy film classic.

Per Variety, this spate of cancellations has severely impacted audiences, as revealed by a survey performed by YouGov. According to their results, audiences are now more likely to wait until a season or even an entire series has ended before binging it, for fear of it being canceled on a cliffhanger. 46 percent of American viewers said that they prefer to wait for the series to end before even beginning it, with the highest proportion of viewers being in the coveted 18 to 34 age range.

A Brief History of Recent TV Cancellations
Cancellations have abounded recently both on streaming and network television. For instance, after The CW was put on the market in early 2022 and was eventually taken over by Nexstar, a vast majority of their programming got the axe or had their next season become their last, including popular shows like Riverdale and several Arrowverse series including The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

The streaming landscape has fared no better recently, especially in the wake of the Warner Bros. and Discovery merger. That shook up HBO Max, leading to DC’s Batgirl film being scrapped in favor of a tax credit and several shows either being canceled, quietly removed from the service, or both like the hit sci-fi drama Westworld. However, most streaming services have at least one high-profile cancellation, including Peacock’s Vampire Academy, Disney+’s WIllow, and Netflix’s 1899, Uncoupled, and Fate: The Winx Saga.

This massive spate of TV cancellations is concerning, as even shows with renewal notices are being canceled like AMC’s anthology series Soulmates. Because of the shaky production landscape sowing doubt in viewers, fewer shows will have strong viewership while they’re on the air, which likely means that even more of them will end up being canceled. This is a vicious cycle that could set the streaming era on an even more topsy-turvy path in the coming years.


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