The most expensive television flops that still got a second series
No fan of television is unfamiliar with the mighty axe of cancellation. It’s a painful truth that low ratings just can’t justify the costs of a production. However, what we find more bizarre are the incredibly expensive television flops that somehow still managed to go on to get a second series order and sometimes even further.
Here are five examples of expensive television flops that miraculously survived the axe.
One of the most expensive shows ever made, Marco Polo cost Netflix a neat $90 million to produce ten episodes. It’s fair to say reception to the series has been a disaster. With critics citing reasons such as poor characterisation, a confusing plot and both sexism and racism, Marco Polo has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 24%. It’s still getting a second season however, which is due to be released on Netflix in July.
While praised by critics and receiving five Emmys, anything other than spectacular ratings could not justify Deadwood‘s $54 million budget. While the first series initially went out to an audience of more than 5 million, this figure had dropped to 3 million by the series finale. The second season fared much worse, averaging around 2.5 million in all. Nevertheless, the series was still picked up for a third season despite the ratings fall and the ratings continued on their downward trajectory.
The very hyped Wayward Pines opened to disappointing ratings – just 3 million – after an expensive promotional campaign. The ratings did pick up for the second episode, but the series never attracted more than 4.5 million. It also scored poorly in the crucial 18-49 category, attracting just 1 million in that age bracket. However, Wayward Pines‘ fate was buoyed by the fact the many of Fox’s new shows also disappointed and it was commissioned for a second series.
Rome had an astonishing budget of $10 million per episode, costing HBO a cool $100 million to produce. With those sorts of costs the show had to deliver in terms of ratings but in spite of praise from critics and fans, dizzying ratings never really appeared. The show managed a second season before time was called on the exploits of those racy Romans.
Friday Night Lights
While the American football drama did acquire a large following of fans, the series never did well enough in the ratings to justify its $2 million an episode price tag. The series faced cancellation in light of poor ratings several times in its five season run, but was critically praised and won several awards.