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Did ABC make the wrong move with Daisies and Sexy?

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 21st 2008 12:00PM
ABC logoAs you all know by now, ABC failed to pick up three of its sophomore shows -- Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, and Eli Stone -- for a full season, essentially ending each after 13 second-season episodes (in other ABC news, Scrubs will start on Tuesday, January 6, and Life on Mars gets four additional episodes for its new post-Lost timeslot, which starts on January 28).

Daisies and DSM (and Private Practice, which is being moved to Thursdays after Grey's Anatomy in the "duh" move of the season) were both held back after the writers' strike last year and didn't come back until the fall. Seems like a logical thing to do, right? I mean, the shows had growing followings but still very modest ratings. ABC learned from the CBS Jericho disaster that holding a freshman show for any period of time will sink the ratings. Turns out, though, that holding them for even longer will sink the ratings even further. Who knew?

All sarcasm aside, though, ABC was in a tough spot. What could they have done differently? More thoughts after the jump.

The logic really did seem sound at the time; let the shows retool and come back fresh and strong the next season. NBC did the same thing with Chuck, and the show came back stronger than ever (though its ratings are only now starting to become respectable after being in the toilet to start the season). But here's the problem: both Daisies and DSM -- and, to a lesser extent, Eli Stone -- were both very dependent on quick-moving and complicated storylines. Heck, just explaining the rules behind Ned's power to bring people back to life takes an episode all by itself. As much as these creators thought that they could "reset" and pick up new viewers who never saw the first season, they were wrong.

Daisies' season premiere contained a very long throat-clearing segment, for instance, where Jim Dale explained Ned's "gift" and his attraction to Chuck. But in no way did it convey the chemistry that the adult Ned and Chuck had, which was one of the more attractive elements to the show's first season. So, new viewers were plunged into this odd world of beehives and pies, and tiny singing waitresses and agoraphobics with eye patches. I'm sure that new viewers had so many questions that they decided to drop out after awhile.

DSM, on the other hand, did a slightly better job at getting new viewers up to speed. But, its audience in its first season wasn't that big to begin with, and with economic disaster looming, people might not have wanted to see rich people misbehaving week after week.

But would either show have benefited from a summer run of repeats? Remember, more than ten months passed between new episodes of each show; it's not inconceivable that a summer set of reruns would have reminded people that the show existed and caught people up. Yes, reruns of dramatic shows rarely do well. But in this case, they probably could have made an exception. Reruns are what gave Everybody Loves Raymond the boost it needed after a low-rated first season, and reruns played a part in growing Grey's after its first year, when it was merely well-watched instead of the blockbuster it is now.

What do you folks think could have saved ABC's sophomore shows? Or do you think they were just brought back because the network didn't have anything better? Let me know in the comments.

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I love DSM please keep it on. You keep all the stupid reality shows on that are not entertaining at all and then decide to take an entertaining show like DSM off. Give us a break and keep a show we viewers like for a change.

January 16 2009 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nancy Ziesman

Dirty Sexy Money is probably my favorite show. I look forward to it every week and relish the opportunity to enjoy every soapy moment. ABC needs to realize that many of us feel insulted by the reality shows and appreciate a well written script and an excellent cast. I certainly hope that ABC will reconsider this decision!

December 30 2008 at 9:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love DSM, Eli Stone and Lipstick Jungle.

Its terrible that ABC cancelled these shows. However ABC...let me make that "abc" doesnt care about its viewers. For them its not about quality. I hate reality shows. Cane was also a big loss.

I get hooked into the story lines.

Same with Womens Murder Club.

December 18 2008 at 1:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Big shame about Daisies. Quirky characters, clever repartee....Best production design on TV by far.
It stood out from other shows. Chi McBride, Kristin Chenowitz showed moves other shows did not allow them.
Weren't the networks supposed to be rising to challenge of HBO & Showtime - maybe those channels could provide a better home for a smart & wonderful show.....networks that find audiences for good writing.

December 02 2008 at 9:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

ABC - Already Been Cancelled

November 30 2008 at 11:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Man, I'm going to miss Pushing Daisies. This show was such an original concept and conveyed that TV doesn't have to be all about sex or medical dramas. With better promotion, this show would be doing fine. Leave it up to ABC to ruin a great thing!

November 27 2008 at 10:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think ABC made the WORST mistake by cancleing DSM!!! My boyfriend and I absoultly LOOOOOVVVEEEE, this show!! We both look forward to watching it and are really upset to see that ABC made this discission. The writer's strike gave this show an instant burial and now that we are adicted to it again, they are taking one of the only best shows they have, away? What is wrong with them? I guess the money was not dirty enough for them? we are really P*&&ed off by their dicission. I guess they want their network to fail-that was the only show that was good on their network!!!

November 27 2008 at 2:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I simply adore the quirky, fast-paced dialogue of Pushing Daisies. It's so Dr. Seuss, but with vocabulary that makes sense and rolls off the tongue. YES, it is a complicated storyline to pick up on, but pick it up, people!! I explained it extensively to my husband, now he loves it. It was the same thing with "ED"...canceled then eventually picked back up. It went on to be quite successful, until the last two dismal episodes. NED...where are you?? Touch YOUR show, bring it back to life and ...I have a list of others that should die in its place!

November 26 2008 at 8:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am hoping that they will reconsider DSM. Myself along with a number of my co-workers watch faithfully and enjoy a program that has a plot and is not reality based. However I do think that the writing is straying a little from the original idea. I have noticed that ABC never seems to advertise the program thus not promoting it. It really is a shame as I feel it was the best show on t.v!

November 25 2008 at 8:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can't believe you're taking DSM off. I think it is great as I don't watch reality or CSI type shows. It was entertaining and allowed us to be entertained. Taking it off is a mistake. You should also show reruns so we can watch them again.....That would have helped before to refresh our memory and pull in new viewers...

November 25 2008 at 4:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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