Chief Landgraf talks to media on decision
When it comes to canceling TV shows, networks tend to skirt the issue.
Some shows are never officially canceled — they go “on hiatus” but then never return. Or they’re “on the bubble” until May, when they don’t make the fall schedule.
This time of year, execs frequently decline to pick up a “back nine” — a friendlier way of telling the cast and crew of a show that it’s toast.
That’s why FX’s strategy behind the cancellation of critics’ fave “Terriers” was more than a bit unusual Monday. Not only did the cabler say point blank that the show was dead, but network honcho John Landgraf held a press call to explain his decision.
Landgraf wanted to elaborate on why he believed the show didn’t work — and stress that common critiques, like those of the show’s marketing, weren’t to blame.
“I think, in general, I’ve really tried to run this channel, this network, in a much more transparent way,” Landgraf told reporters, explaining why he opted to make the press call rather than bury the news on a Friday evening (when the decision was actually made).
FX PR boss Jon Solberg said the network as a whole was disappointed that the show didn’t resonate with audiences and also wanted to address the decision out of respect to exec producers Shawn Ryan and Ted Griffin, as well as series stars Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James.
“There is a belief that people who make these decisions sit in an ivory tower and don’t have any regard for fans of a show,” Solberg said. “John does care and felt it was important to provide context for the decision. By answering any and all questions about it, even the most ardent fan can have a better understanding why the decision was made.”
But the approach left some perplexed about what it might concretely achieve.
“I’m not sure I understand this,” said one rival exec of the press call. “You can’t win against criticism for canceling a show.”
Still, FX’s decision to go public with its choice appeared to sit well with Ryan, whose tight relationship with the cabler goes back to “The Shield.”
“‘Terriers’ fans, know that all the emails you sent in to FX on behalf of show were read by FX prez John Landgraf and caused sleepless nights,” Ryan wrote Monday on Twitter.