In my racket, you get used to it – the angst about the cancellation of shows.
Shows come and go and it’s an endless cycle of death and renewal. Some shows are mistakes from the get-go and their very existence is a mystery. It can happen, and I spoof you not, that a U.S. network will produce and begin airing a series merely to make-nice with a star the execs want to put in another, later show. And, yes, shows have been produced to give a star’s spouse or partner something to do.
I was deeply disappointed that AMC cancelled the great thriller Rubicon, a fabulous le Carré-style espionage mind-bender rooted in the American spy world. But other shows came along, and my boundless optimism about television was sustained.
And then, recently, it got personal. I learned that Fox Soccer Report, part of my daily existence, might soon disappear forever. That hurt. Shaw Media, which acquired the CanWest/Global empire a few years ago, has killed the Fox Sports World Canada channel. For a while, the word was that the only possible FSWC property that might survive, possibly on another channel, was Fox Soccer Report, largely because it also airs on the Fox Soccer Channel in the United States. Produced in Winnipeg, it has aired seven days a week for years, covering the soccer world, which is, actually, the whole wide world.
However, it now seems that either a) Fox Soccer Report will disappear forever at the end of this month or b) might air only in the U.S. until August and then disappear forever.
The ways of television are mystifying. Exactly how a staple of sports broadcasting, a popular daily fix of soccer news, could evaporate, is beyond me. Soccer is growing in popularity in North America. Major League Soccer has been expanding slowly and steadily for years. The Euro 2012 tournament, the third-biggest sporting event in the world, happens in June. The World Cup in Brazil is only two years away.
“With our decision last summer not to pursue a robust sports offering, maintaining Fox Sports World no longer makes strategic and economic sense for Shaw Media going forward,” a Shaw statement said. Note the “going forward,” that epitome of corporate-talk. This is about a complex corporate strategy, not a popular show. Well, going forward, my life is diminished if I’m not watching Bobby McMahon, the best soccer analyst on the continent, expertly joshing with host and expert Eoin O’Callaghan. Or seeing Michelle Lissel and Asa Rehman introduce soccer highlights from around the world.
Right now, it’s not that I’m like an atheist who has just succumbed to religion. But I do understand in a visceral way what it means to have a connection severed.
Of course I also know that this is the time of the year when networks and broadcasters make decisions about shows. Cancel or renew? Hedge by agreeing to six episodes and see what happens? It’s business.
So, if you are, for some strange reason, addicted to the cooking reality show Hell’s Kitchen and Gordon Ramsay’s antics, rest assured it will be back next month and next year. Fox has renewed it. There will be a second season of New Girl and a fourth season of Glee. There will be a third season of Game of Thrones on HBO, if the sword-and-sex drama is your fetish. NBC has renewed Smash and Grimm for next season. And heaven help us all, there will be a sixth season of Jersey Shore.
However, there are cancellations looming. The following shows can be considered likely candidates for disappearance – Missing on ABC, Unforgettable on CBS, Breaking In, Fringe and The Finder on Fox. Are You There, Chelsea? on NBC.
Meanwhile, Private Practice is almost certain to disappear from the ABC schedule while Cougar Town is a “maybe,” and the same goes for CSI: Miami and CSI: NY on CBS. Touch might not make it back on the Fox schedule and to the surprise of only a handful of people, even NBC might not be so desperate as to do a second season of Whitney.
No, I don’t know everything about the future of your favourite shows. (I’m taking here about U.S. network and cable – the Canadian situation is even more murky.) But I do know this: The phrase “all things must pass” doesn’t cut it, sometimes. When it’s personal, it’s a worry, and it means pain.
The Jesus Discovery (Vision, 9 p.m.) continues the journey of Simcha Jacobovici ( The Naked Archeologist; The Lost Tomb of Jesus) as he uses archeological finds to expand our grasp of Jesus, the time he lived in, and the birth of Christianity. Here he explores a sealed, previously unexcavated tomb in Jerusalem from around the time of Jesus. According to Vision, “The ossuaries, or bone boxes, that are uncovered and their associated carvings are some of the most important archeological discoveries ever made.” A few years ago Jacobovici caused a sensation by claiming to have found the lost tomb of Jesus in Talpiot, a suburb of Jerusalem. Skeptics weighed in. This is Chapter 2 of that controversy.
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