Blog Post #1
February 28, 2014
“There’s Always Money in the Banana Stand”
In today’s society television sitcoms seem to come and go relatively quickly and with the invention of streaming sites such as, Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, etc, allows for the viewer at home to marathon watch entire series with the click of a button. It seems like some shows today are only successful once they have reached a streaming site like Netflix. This idea may allocate why Mitchell Hurwitz’s Arrested Development seemed to flop on broadcast television but created an enormous fan base once it became readily available on Netflix. Was it because it allowed for marathon watching? Or maybe the television industry had a say in what happened? These are the questions one must ask to get the end result of why the television show Arrested Development was cancelled and how it made a miraculous recovery once it was available on Netflix.
Hurwitz’s Arrested Development was cut from the FOX broadcast after the third season and it wasn’t until six years later that the show was revived for a brand new fourth season. It was a wonderful show that offered quirky and comedic aspects of a sitcom to the viewers of America. So, the reason for Arrested Development being cut from cable was mainly due by FOX broadcasting, marketing and time slots but was revitalized by Netflix and the growing numbers of their fans during the off season.
The broadcasting company known as FOX is a huge player in the television industry and can be seen worldwide. Many viewers across the globe recognize their shows like, Family Guy, The Simpsons, 24 and even their own news station, Fox News. So it’s no joke that FOX has its fingers dipped into a variety of shows and genres to please their audience. Just to put FOX broadcasting company in perspective with its competitors, the website Mediaite posted,
“As previously stated, Fox News continues to be the hands-down ratings winner across the board in cable news. The network often posts better ratings than CNN and MSNBC combined and was the 7th most-watched cable channel overall during primetime in Q3. Its competitors didn’t even break the top 30, with MSNBC at #31 and CNN at #34” (Mediaite).
This statement really does provide recent and compelling evidence that FOX almost has some sort of monopoly in the television market. They roll in a plethora of viewers daily which makes the shows being broadcasted more important than most in terms of the industry.
So exactly why did FOX cut Arrested Development from their broadcast? I mean, if you look at Arrested Development’s current ratings on Netflix, it becomes hard to fathom this question. In response to this, the actor and comedian David Cross had some input as to why Arrested Development was cut, I mean, after all Tobias Funke (David Cross) had hands on experience being an actor on the show. According to Cross, “when the show came out it suffered similar problems as Family Guy. FOX refused to give it good ads, and constantly moved its time slot” (Cross). Cross later goes to say that Arrested Development actually had its time slots moved a total of five to six times. The show went from Tuesdays at 8p.m. to Thursdays at 10p.m. and eventually ended up on Monday nights. As you can see the progression of time slots each slot seems to be at worse times. These time jumps even make it hard for actual fans to even follow the show, thus providing that changing the time slots was a key aspect for cutting Arrested Development from broadcast. Bad show times leads to lack of an audience, which eventually leads to the death of a show.
Another key component of FOX eliminating Arrested Development from their broadcast was the marketing or the advertisements associated with the half hour time slot. As Cross mentioned above, FOX refused to present worthy television ads and this tactic actually affects the viewers of the show as well. As Cross puts it,
“The ads were awful and attempted to sell the show like it was King of Queens or some other equally formulaic run-of-the-mill sitcom. The marketing failed very hard, in part, because they never gave it a chance to succeed. I even refused to watch it based on the awful FOX ads for it” (Cross).
Maybe FOX really just did not like the show or maybe they found it not worthy of their broadcasting but having poor marketing is a huge aspect as to why Arrested Development went under. It is safe to say that they had the means, especially in the marketing department. No one is completely certain if this was FOX’s way of eliminating a show they did not want on there channel but comparing the ads from Arrested Development when they were on FOX to other blockbuster shows like 24 showed a clear difference in the quality of the commercials, heck, even George Seniors Cornballler infomercial would have been a better choice. Both the marketing and time slots were key indicators why Arrested Development was let go on the FOX broadcasting channels but how did Hurwitz turn this around and revive his precious show?
It wasn’t until 2013 that Arrested Development made another appearance and this time funded and revived by Netflix. No commercials and no time slots, just the entire series. Diving into Netflix’s marketing model one of their strengths was brand recognition, “The Netflix brand is a well-known, national name in the United States. With more than thirty-eight million customers in 40 countries, its identity is valued greatly among consumers as a quick, easy, and available destination for streaming media” (AlysonStephan.net). Having over thirty-eight million customers really adds to Arrested Developments hype during the years between seasons three and four. By Netflix buying the rights to have Arrested Development on their instant queue created a clean slate for the show. Members of Netflix were able to whole-heartedly view the show at their leisure and soon enough many viewers became fans. As the fan base began to populate, many began yearning another season just like a pot of boiling water beginning to bubble over and soon enough both Hurwitz and Netflix teamed up for another season to watch the Bluths go at it again. This time Arrested Development soared with success and is now one of top sitcoms of our time.
In sum, Arrested Development was cut from broadcasting by FOX because of two major reason, one being poor marketing and advertisements, and two being poor time slots. However, it was revived by the saving grace of Netflix and its fan base. Arrested Development was a worthy sitcom that deserved more in return then they got from FOX broadcasting company. Having a variety of time slots over the course of three years and horrible ads during commercial breaks really hurt the show’s value but once Netflix bought the seasons for their instant queue, this changed the game completely. So, without further adieu, I believe this “Development has been Arrested.”
Cross, David. "David Cross Explains Why Arrested Development Got Cancelled." Reddit. N.p., 25 May 2013. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. <http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/1f19li/david_cross_explains_why_arrested_development_got/>.
Lewis, Lisa. The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media. London: Routledge, 1992. Print.
Phillips, Kristopher, and Jeremy Wisnewski. Arrested Development and Philosophy. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. Print.
Stephan, Alyson. "2013 Netflix Strategic Analysis." AlysonStephan. Alyson Stephan, Oct. 2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2014. <http://www.alysonstephan.net/uploads/Netflix_Strategic_Analysis.pdf>.
Wilstien, Matt. "Q3 2013 Cable News Ratings." Mediaite. Mediaite, LLC, 2 Oct. 2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2014. <http://www.mediaite.com/tv/q3-2013-cable-news-ratings-fox-1-overall-msnbc-2-in-primetime-cnn-2-in-total-day/>.