The cancellation axe has been swung again. This time the series on the receiving end is Neighbors with Benefits, a reality series that began airing on A&E just a few weeks ago. The new series received a lot of notice thanks to its outlandish premise, which follows married couples that enjoy participating in extramarital affairs. The show hit the network on March 22, but didn’t even finish out its Season 1 run before A&E promptly cancelled it.
Honestly, Neighbors with Benefits is a pretty tough sell. Between the audience factions who dislike reality TV, the critical panning of Neighbors with Benefits, and the fact that some cable subscribers are split between seeing the premise as silly or morally reprehensible, it’s difficult to see how A&E thought this one would be a winner. It’s been so bad, in fact, that only two of the nine episodes that were ordered even aired before A&E pulled the plug on the program. Here's an idea of what the show is like:
A&E is a network that is not immune to wild reality programs. While some of the network’s reality fodder is harmless but enjoyable, like Storage Wars, the network has more recently signed on for programs that rely on more gimmicky premises. Beyond Neighbors with Benefits, A&E is also home to Married at First Sight, a reality show that premiered last summer that follows couples who agree to get married without having met before their wedding day. Most of this low budget reality programming is manufactured and filled with over-the-top drama, but Neighbors with Benefits was a particularly bad offender. News of the cancellation first started circulating when a new episode did not air over the weekend, although A&E didn’t confirm until today.
A&E is kind-of in a rebuilding phase. After cancelling the network’s fairly strong performer Longmire to make room for more network-owned programming, A&E has released new scripted drama The Returned. Bates Motel is also going strong during its third season on the network. However, the network's other new scripted series Those Who Kill, which stars Chloe Sevigny in a remake of a Danish series, was already shipped off to Lifetime after suffering dismal ratings on A&E. The cabler seems to be having some difficulty creating sustainable programming.
If you are now interested in seeing what all of the hullabaloo surrounding Neighbors with Benefits has been about, you can currently find the first episode available on A&E’s site.
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Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.