The television industry is currently experiencing a period of upheaval, with cancellations and uncertainty dominating the headlines. GameSpot’s annual tracking of show cancellations reveals a troubling trend. In 2022 alone, a total of 110 shows bid farewell either due to cancellation or coming to an end. As of Friday, July 7, the tally for this year stands at 90 cancellations. Recent casualties include Netflix’s Snowflake Mountain, which was canceled after just one season, as reported by Deadline. Additionally, HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show will not be returning for Season 5, according to Variety.
Writers Strike and Potential Actors’ Strike
Adding to the industry’s woes is an ongoing writers strike that began on May 2. This strike has resulted in production delays and a shortage of new shows. However, the concerns do not end there. News of a potential strike by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has further heightened concerns. Talks between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are set to conclude on July 12. If an acceptable deal is not reached, SAG-AFTRA members, who overwhelmingly voted in favor of a strike, are prepared to take to the streets on July 13.
Disconcerting Trend of Content Removals
The streaming landscape is also experiencing a disconcerting trend of content removals. Stories about shows and movies being pulled from platforms have become increasingly frequent. For example, Crater, a sci-fi film produced by the team behind Stranger Things, was abruptly removed from Disney Plus, sparking outrage as it had been available for less than two months. Paramount+ also recently unceremoniously purged 10 titles from its streaming service without any notice. Similarly, WB Discovery, led by David Zaslav, has been at the forefront of similar removals on Max, while Disney+ and Hulu have recently followed suit.
A Bleak Outlook for the Fall TV Season
The heavy surge of cancellations comes as streamers are expected to reduce overall spending on content. Neil Anderson, an analyst from Ampere, asserts that a “more cautious approach” by streamers will become the new norm, and this is evident in the current landscape. With the rising number of cancellations, the possibility of a strike disrupting production schedules, and the increasing frequency of content removals from streaming services, the industry and viewers alike face an uncertain future, particularly for the upcoming fall TV season.