NBC’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, one of the network’s most highly anticipated new shows of this fall, is about to be cancelled, according to reports.
The show draws less than half as many viewers as CSI: Miami, which regularly wins the Monday 10 p.m. EST time slot Studio 60 occupies at NBS. What is even more damaging is that the Aaron Sorkin-produced Studio 60 suffers a huge drop in viewership from its lead-in program, the new series Heroes. Last week, the surprisingly popular Heroes drew 14.3 million watchers, and Studio 60 pulled in an anemic 7.7 million, nearly a 50 percent drop in viewership from its lead-in. That is simply an intolerable number and clearly indicates that not many people like Studio 60.
This is not a matter of audiences failing to appreciate a quality show, which does happen from time to time. No, audiences are flocking to Heroes because it is interesting and dramatic and includes characters and situations which, although fanciful, are easy for viewers to identify with.
Studio 60, by contrast, is about a highly lucky, elite group of people whose jobs are fantastically fun if difficult and often frustrating. In addition, most of the characters are terribly snarky and self-important, and they don’t seem to enjoy their wealth-suffused lives much at all. These things may well be true of the people who make network comedy shows, but the characters they make up aren’t the kinds of people most individuals will want to invite into their homes week after week. It’s a simple lesson, but the TV producers and networks never seem to learn it.