Blame it on Gary Newman.
That’s what I will be telling Bell Media, my satellite-TV service provider, when I cancel my service in the coming days.
I had been considering pulling the plug for a while now because, quite frankly, traditional American network television has become quite boring to me. I’ve seen more than enough formulaic TV on the Big Four U.S. networks over the decades of my life. The cop shows, hospital dramas and so many sitcoms are all a blur. Only a few series from all those decades stand out in my memory: Seinfeld, Cheers, Kung Fu. (OK, I loved Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, too.)
These days, I need something that breaks new ground. Something that pushes the limits. Something unique. Something off the wall.
There are a lot of those types of shows on Netflix, Amazon and the like, and I find myself streaming more and more of them these days, and watching U.S. television networks less and less. Indeed, there is only one U.S. network show that I really enjoy — and that has kept my money flowing into the coffers of Bell Media: Lucifer.
Yes, Lucifer is ostensibly a cop show, but with comedic and dramatic metaphysical hooks that had me hooked from Episode 1, Season 1. I never missed an episode in its three seasons. The series became a staple of my weekly life.
Alas, I shouldn’t have let myself fall in love with Lucifer. I should have remembered that nothing is permanent in the world of American network television, and that at any moment, a network executive could break my heart.
That executive is Fox chairman Gary Newman. He claims it was a “ratings-based decision.” He broke my heart.
Newman may be rethinking his decision right now as a campaign by Lucifer’s fans to save the series gains momentum. A change.org petition had close to 150,000 signatures the last time I checked, and Twitterites are tweeting up a storm with the hashtags #SaveLucifer and #PickUpLucifer, the latter being a plea to other networks or streaming services to pick up the series.
My guess is that Amazon or Netflix will sign on, because you know they wouldn’t mind having an extra few million clicks on their websites every week. There’s no telling how many new paying customers they would get.
But Newman may relent yet and sign Lucifer for a fourth season given the amount of pressure he must surely be under today. Which is why I am not cancelling my Bell Media service just yet. Maybe Newman will come through for the shareholders of Bell Media as well as all the fans of Lucifer around the world.
If he doesn’t and I disconnect from traditional TV, I will be joining many millennials and others who have pulled the plug, too. American television networks are going the way of print media: they face extinction if they don’t adapt.
Sadly, too many newspapers and American television networks make ratings-based decisions that seem to treat their customers with contempt. One wise executive editor taught me years ago that when you give your readers/viewers something, it is not a good idea to take it away from them later, even if your ratings aren’t as high as you would like them to be. Because taking something away in effect pushes them away, too.
Of course, I recognize that every TV series must come to an end. Some go out on their own terms, like Seinfeld did. We all accepted that, even if we would have liked to have more. But none of Lucifer’s fans are accepting this premature death. Season 3 ended with a cliffhanger episode that has millions of people crying for more.
And Gary Newman is shrugging them all off with a statement saying it was “a ratings-based decision”?
I agree Jillian. I really like Lucifer and also have been watching it from the beginning. I cut off my cable when I broke my hip back in the Fall of 2013. I was away from home for 5 months and hardly watched any TV while in the hospital and convalescent care. I couldn’t afford to have it when I returned home. I get 3 local channels, cbc, tvo and ctv which caries Lucifer. What tends to happen is they get us hooked on a show and then they move them to a cable channel like ctv2. There are many channels with cable but too many repeated shows. By the way, I totally dislike all these Survivor, Chef, cook as fast as you can or someone tell me how dumb I am with my potential selling idea shows. They call these reality shows but they are as rehearsed as much
Lucifer himself. I survive without my 50 channels, and pvr. Imagine my life in this 21st century.
You can also stream a lot of TV shows on the CBC and CTV sites, maybe TVO as well. Same for Knowledge TV in B.C. But we in Canada can’t stream shows on American sites, not that there are many worth streaming. I hardly ever turn on my TV these days. I like a few CBC shows — Schitts Creek, Working Moms, Mr. D, but they’re all finished for the season. I live in the Laurentians, so without a satellite dish, I can’t pick up clear TV signals.
It’s funny how we feel about TV depending on where we’re watching it. I’m just the opposite from you, (or maybe the same,) where despite all the offerings here in the States, I’m still most drawn to shows in other countries, like Canada, U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, which I can’t get as easily here.
When I lived closer north to the border, I could get CBC, and sometimes CTV, from Montreal. I’ve loved shows like Being Erica, Republic of Doyle, X Team, Dragon’s Den (much better than the Shark version down here,) and shows going back to Street Legal, DaVinci’s Inquest, and way back to Emerdale (which wasn’t Canadian, but I only saw on CBC.)
Much of what I watched on CTV was actually U.S. shows, but they were unedited, like The Sopranos, so included all the language, nudity, etc.
I’ve been intrigued by how Canada has very popular shows, like Little Mosque on the Prairie, and Kim’s Convenience, which parody stereotypes of cultures, religions, etc., and these shows are nominated for awards. Down here, I’m not sure those shows would even be green-lighted.
It’s frustrating that I can’t stream Canadian programs down here, especially since CBC has such great and extensive archives available online. When I’m north of the border, I could waste all my time just browsing old episodes, (I try to limit my viewing to late at night.)
Down here, I am able to find some of my Canadian favorites, like Republic of Doyle and Murdoch Mysteries, on Netflix, but their offerings change from time to time.
Most upsetting was being in Canada during the Olympics, last winter, and not being able to take advantage of all the online offerings because my laptop and phone are on U.S. settings, which CBC didn’t like, and I couldn’t figure out how to change that.
I understand there are copyright issues, but I’ve always thought that broadcasting, or now streaming, to a wider audience, even global, should be considered a good thing, especially for advertisers.
I think some of CBC’s shows are on Netflix, but is that just for Canadian subscribers?
Yes, down here Netflix is where I’ve found Republic of Doyle, and Murdoch Mysteries, and a couple other Canuck programs in the past, but those offerings seem to change over time, probably based on popularity.
When I’ve been up there, I don’t think I’ve tried switching my Netflix location to see what’s is different there. I’ll have to try that.
I just heard, today, that CBC is bringing back Street Legal!
That was one of my Canadian favorites back in the 80’s-90’s. It sounds like one of the main characters from the old series, who played an immigration attorney, is now a judge. I imagine they’ll be tackling lots of the modern controversies.