Everybody knows what makes a hit TV show is ratings, right? But in this continuing series, we examine how today’s most popular shows would have been axed just a few short years ago… and how yesterday’s flops would be topping the charts today!
In 1999, Judd Apatow produced an hour-long dramedy for NBC called FREAKS & GEEKS. Chronicling the lives of a not-so-popular group of high school students (played by a gang of then relative unknowns including Linda Cardellini, James Franco, Seth Rogen and Busy Phillips), their teachers and parents, the series was immediately hailed as brilliant by fans and critics alike, (See: Entertainment Weekly who called the show “…one of the most heartfelt and humorous TV shows of the past decade…”) Unfortunately, when your network is the home of ratings juggernauts such as FRIENDS, ER and FRASIER, which at the time still attracted 20+ million viewers an episode, six millions passionate and dedicated fans does not a hit show make. Which is why it was cancelled.
Whereas in 2009, a ‘hit’ show on NBC is considered anything that attracts five to seven million viewers on a regular basis. As evidence by renewal notices for fledgling albeit quality series such as 30 ROCK, PARKS AND RECREATION and CHUCK.