After suffering a noticeable drop in viewership throughout this season, Showtime has decided to give The United States Of Tara its walking papers. The comedy-drama was surrounded by loads of hype leading up to its 2009 premiere thanks to creator Diablo Cody’s burgeoning fame, but it never quite advanced past the point of interesting idea. Within the last year, the program shed nearly one-third of its weekly viewers, ultimately making the cancellation choice pretty easy for the premium cable channel’s executives.
It’s not all bad news for Showtime’s female-centered shows though. The network has decided to bring the critically-acclaimed Nurse Jackie back for a fourth season. Star Edie Falco recently won an Emmy for her portrayal of the title character, and the third season averaged nearly three million weekly viewers. According to Deadline, that’s about a million more than The United States Of Tara and a couple hundred thousand more than Californication.
By now, the four major networks have a pretty good gauge on exactly what types of numbers its comedies and dramas need to do ratings wise in order to stay on the air, but the basic and premium cable channels are just starting to figure these things out. It’s still a trial and error game, balancing critical acclaim, notoriety and hard numbers. For example: The United States Of Tara may not have been doing big business, but if a good portion of its nearly two million viewers subscribed to Showtime specifically for that particular show, it would have been worth keeping on the air. Figuring these things out may never be an exact science, but it’s getting closer to one every season.
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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