[04/05/04 - 12:00 AM]
'Wonderfalls' Sent Packing by Fox
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- "Well, not sure what to tell ya'll -- but we're cancelled," "Wonderfalls" executive producer Tim Minear told readers of his "Minearverse" section of Buffistas.org on Saturday afternoon.

"The cow creamer will be silent this Thursday and forever forward. Once we recover from the not-shock, Todd [Holland], Bryan [Fuller] and I will see if there's some venue in which to air the remaining episodes," he continued. "As I have said from the start, the thirteen taken as a whole tell a story and go to a place, so a run of this "limited" series would not be unsatisfying elsewhere. It's a question as to whether the studio will want to invest in a DVD release of a failed series. Maybe the episodes will sit in a warehouse someplace with that sled and the arc of the covenant. Thanks for all the support and enthusiasm."

The news comes as little surprise as the FOX series posted a mere 2.0 rating/3 share in households and a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49 for its time slot premiere on Thursday, according to fast national data. Only one other broadcast - an October encore of "24's" season premiere - has performed as badly in the Thursday, 9:00/8:00c hour for FOX this season.

With 13 episodes in the can, that leaves nine installments of the series still on the shelf. Encores of FOX's new reality series "The Swan" are set to fill "Wonderfalls'" former Thursday, 9:00/8:00c home beginning this week.

Later on Saturday when asked about what fans can do to revive the series, Minear added: "In terms of 'saving' the show? Not really anything you can do. The network is a non-starter here. The studio, 20th, is possibly a different matter. If they get the sense that people would buy a complete series DVD set, it might happen that the series becomes available in future. But please don't waste your time or money on trying to revive 'Wonderfalls' for a pick-up with Fox. Ain't gonna happen."

"When we first began this series, I was asked by many why I would put my trust in the network that mishandled 'Firefly' so terribly. Well, because it felt different to me. Initially, there was real excitement and belief in 'Wonderfalls' at the network. My feeling with 'Firefly' was always that since they didn't much like or understand it from the brilliant pilot, that we were kind of doomed. I felt that if a network didn't believe in a show, no matter its potential, that it couldn't launch it or sell it with any measure of success."

"And again, 'Wonderfalls' felt totally different to me. At first. Then, at some point in the process, I could sense an erosion in enthusiasm. Even as we were finding our footing and delivering to them some really exceptional episodes (ones you never got to see!), things got chilly. Then they couldn't seem to find any place on the schedule for us. Then they did... and it was Friday night. I tell you now, the moment that was announced, I knew it was over. They were dumping us into Friday nights and that was that. When the smashing reviews started coming in... and coming and coming and coming... I think they didn't know what to think or do. You have but one chance to make a good first impression. But they'd given up on the show before it ever aired, and even when the lion's share of critics were hailing the show, it was too late for them to backtrack and launch the series with any kind of conviction. My 'Firefly' experience was repeating itself. I think it was USA Today that said this may be 'the wrong show, in the wrong season, on the wrong night, on the wrong network.' Just so. I do think market forces were at work here, too. Not just incompetence."

"I don't know if any network could have brought an audience to this show. Certainly no network that dumped it on Friday night, promoted it in such as way as to try and trick people into thinking it was 'Dawson's Creek,' or that didn't, apparantly, agree with the things the critics were saying about it. I do think any network wants whatever they pay for to be a success. I don't think they MEAN to strangle something in the crib. I know that the next time I shop something to a network, I'm going to hope to find a network that understands and believes in the thing they ordered. And if they thought it looked good on the menu, I'd hope they'd still have a taste for it once it got to the table."

Click here and here to read Minear's original posts.

  [april 2004]  

· 24 (FOX)

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