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Fox "Drives" Into a Brick Wall

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Either Fox has a personal gripe with Tim Minear that involves kissing his ass, ordering his pilots, then purposefully crashing them into a wall, or they are just really, really stupid.

Take your pick.

I haven't seen Drive yet, and now it looks as if I never will. Variety reported this evening that Fox has already canceled the upstart drama after having produced just six episodes. As TV Guide has noted, this is the fourth series in a row for Minear to be picked up by Fox only to be canceled before even reaching the halfway point.

Firefly being the most notable, I can understand that the concept might fail on network television, but only somewhat. Lacking a broad appeal is an excuse that only goes so far when the content quality is clearly outstanding, as was the case with Firefly and probably Drive as well. Just how many series get canceled after 13 episodes only to spawn an expensive feature film within two years?

Yeah, I don't know either, but I'm guessing you could probably count them with one hand. So this begs the question, what the hell is Fox doing over there? Who in their right mind would be thrilled enough with a pilot to order $20-30 million worth of episodes (these days that'd probably cover 10-15 episodes not counting the pilot) only to shut it down in the beginning of a season?

Practically speaking with the pressure the networks are under from advertisers, I can see the need to dispatch a production that is costing an arm and a leg but not paying its bills, but why not at the very least let it complete the season so it'll sell better on DVD? Oh, wait a minute, that's probably because the networks don't get DVD revenue, the studio does.

Since I didn't catch any of the first and only four episodes, I can't make judgments about its quality like I can with Firefly, but I've got a feeling there was quality content there because Minear happens to be a very talented guy that I trust. I scoped it out sometime back and found that all my favorite episodes of Firefly where written by him, and had I known he was behind this series, you can bet your bottom dollar I'd have been watching.

It's a very sad state when a series needs to pull in X million people within the first four episodes or it gets canned. Think back to the early 90's when the X-Files hit the scene. Though I can't say for certain, I do know that Fox was still pretty new back then and I find it hard to believe that the X-Files debuted to stellar ratings.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that it probably didn't do any better than Firefly did during the first half season, hardly any shows do. Had Fox taken its win-big-or-die-quickly mentality back in time and applied it to X-Files, I don't think it would have made it beyond its freshman season. I'm not even confident Fox itself would have made it.

Things take time to develop, but if you slice and dice in the name of profit as quickly as Fox has garnered a reputation of doing, you're gonna end up killing off the next tent pole series that could sustain you for 5-7 years and not even know it. Though I suppose that doesn't mean much to Fox given how well it's been doing lately with Idol, House, and 24.

Still, those programs are not going to last forever, and Fox isn't going to find a replacement for them by slitting their own throat.

Something is going to have to change, or the thing that kills off the big networks isn't going to be Internet piracy, it'll be their own stupid executives.

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Apr 27, 2007, 2:05:00 PM
You know, I'm not all that surprised that DRIVE got cancelled. I never wanted to see it from the previews, and I'm sure there was a plot and fast paced action, but how long can you run a show based on Cannonball Run? But then again, I never expected Prison Break and 24 to be able to hit as hard as they did, so who am I to say??

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