There’s nothing more disappointing in life than getting addicted to a favorite TV series only to find it cancelled too soon. In today’s day and age the TV industry is doing better than ever and millions of people tune in to see the newest popular shows each season. There is lot’s of money to be made in the TV programing industry and there’s also lots of money spent. It’s not uncommon for an hour long show to cost an excess of a million dollars per episode. The costs incurred are from the actor’s salary, building a set, wardrobe and expensive equipment. It can be particularly expensive to produce time period series and science fiction sets. Money spent filming and editing a TV series comes at a risk, if enough viewers don’t tune in to watch each week the show will fade away, leaving frustrated fans wanting more.
There are many reasons why a show can be cancelled from a network and the most common one is simply the expense. It is true that the expensive shows tend to have the most fans, they are also the hardest to maintain and the first on the chopping block if things go south. Due to this, many seemingly popular shows have disappeared for no apparent reason, leaving viewers petitioning for its return and the TV networks attempting to sell a show to another channel, although expensive shows rarely find a second home.
PVR’s and online streaming services make it increasingly difficult for new shows to succeed. Ratings are based on viewers who tune in during the shows time slot each week, but since people record shows to watch them later, the rating go down. PVR’s have made it difficult for television networks to function the way they once had. They make money from ad revenues but people aren’t watching commercials anymore. Here are some expensive shows that were cancelled too soon.
10. Friday Night Lights: $2 Million Per Episode
Friday Night Lights premiered on NBC in October 2006. It was a drama based off of a novel and film of the same name. If focused on a football team in a small rural town in Texas, and accurately portrayed life in central America. The series did have a following of fans but never did get high ratings. It was dangerously close to being cancelled after two seasons but DirecTV picked it up giving it a second chance but the show never brought in enough ratings to be worth the $2 million per episode budget. The series was quickly cancelled.
9. Eureka: $2.5 Million Per Episode
Eureka premiered on SyFy July 2006 and focused on a fictional town in Oregon, although in the pilot it was in Washington state. The mysterious town was inhabited by mad scientist type people and a sheriff. Most residents worked for a big company responsible for all the technological breakthroughs since it opened. The episodes were mostly about someone misusing technology and the sheriff investigated the crime. The expense of the series was the main reason for it’s failure. Despite it’s following, Eureka wasn’t profitable enough. The series was to have a final season of only 6 episodes, but instead was cancelled early.
8. The Borgias: $3 million Per Episode
The Borgias was a period based TV series set in the 16th century. The show aired in April of 2011 and ended after three seasons suddenly, without even being allowed to wrap up the storyline. The network promised a 2 hour film to complete the series but after a script was written, they changed their minds, which outraged loyal fans. The fans hired a protester to appear in 16th century clothing and even rented a plane to fly over a Dexter-themed Showtime event. Later it was agreed upon that The Borgias film script would be made into an e-book. The series was expensive to create which played a large role in its demise, as well as it’s similarity to The Tudors.
7. Carnivale: $4 Million Per Episode
Carnivale was an ambitious TV series that premiered on HBO in September 2003. The opening credits alone were one of the most expensive and complicated to create. The series originally was planned to run for six seasons but was cancelled after only two, when the series lost half its viewers during the second year. It was set during The Great Depression in the U.S. and followed two different groups of people. Carnivale depicted a battle of good versus evil. The show was complex for its time but it has been compared with popular shows of today and with a modern audience may have attracted a larger following.
6. Heroes: $4 Million Per Episode
Heroes premiered in September 2006 and started off strong having one of the highest premiere ratings for an NBC drama. The story followed the lives of ordinary people who developed superhuman abilities and showed how it affected their everyday lives. The story was done in a similar format to a traditional comic book. The series failed after the second season when the storyline began to get old. After all, how long can characters spend trying to find themselves? The show lost viewers and after some attempts of adding twists into the series that never made much sense, the show was cancelled before season five. In April 2013, NBC announced a comic book would be released called Season Five.
5. The Fugitive: $6 Million Per Episode
The Fugitive premiered on CBS in 2000, and was a remake of the very popular 1960’s series and 1993 movie starring Harrison Ford. The show was a sure hit, made by the same people who did the movie, although the series was more of a redo than a spinoff and since everyone knew the end result it didn’t draw in many viewers. Instead, CBS aired the CSI crime show which was underestimated at the time and The Fugitive disappeared after a single season without being noticed.
4. Smash: $7.5 Million For The Pilot
Smash started with a spectacular pilot in February 2012, and was portraying two young actresses rise to fame and battle for the role of a lifetime; Marilyn Monroe. The show started to get spotty halfway through season one when the subplot’s started to take over the plot. Smash was at it’s best when it showed behind the scenes Broadway action. After riding off of the popularity of the musical show Glee, Smash was quickly cancelled after the second season.
3. Rome: $10 Million Per Episode
Rome was a TV series co-produced by HBO and BBC, and was one of the most expensive shows ever created. It had a budget of $10 million per episode. The series was set in 1st century BC and season one ended with Julius Caesar’s assassination. Many characters were based on real life historical figures and showed the transformation of ancient Rome from a republic to an empire. Rome was cancelled from a lack of viewers and because the first season cost over $100 million just for 12 episodes.
2. Band of Brothers: $12.5 Million Per Episode
Band of Brothers was a WWII miniseries which aired in 2001. There were only 10 episodes. It was the most expensive mini-series ever created at the time, with a budget of $125 million for ten episodes plus an extra $15 million that went into the promotional campaign. The series first aired on TV just before the 9/11 attacks and after, the promotional campaign cut off the advertising. The second episode only received half of the original viewers. It’s still shown frequently but was never as popular as it was intended to be because of the events that coincided with it’s release.
1. Terra Nova: $20 Million For The Pilot
Terra Nova was set to be a 2011 hit new show in the fall line up. It was the story of a family from the dried up, over populated world of the future. It follows them as they attempt to begin a new life in the past, in a world where dinosaurs still roam the earth. It was heavily advertised and many people tuned in to watch, but mid-season, bad reviews started circulating, as the show hit a rough patch. People turned against Terra Nova before it regained its viewers back in the final episodes but it was too late and it never saw another season. The network attempted to sell the show but it failed. Terra Nova simply was too little to late. At least viewers can still watch the episodes on Netflix, which contemplated picking up the show before changing their decision. Terra Nova will remain a million dollar regret.