Netflix Gets Flak For One-Season Cancellations. It's A Network TV Problem Too

 Milo Ventimiglia in The Company You Keep.
Milo Ventimiglia in The Company You Keep.

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to choosing a TV series to watch, and it can be super frustrating as a viewer to get invested in a new story and its characters, just to see that series get the axe. Netflix has taken a lot of flak over the past year for sneakily canceling shows after just one season, but it’s definitely not just a streaming problem. Network TV has also seen its share of single-season series, including several in the past week from major networks that featured big stars.

On May 12, ABC announced that Alaska Daily and The Company You Keep would end after their first seasons, per THR. We knew Milo Ventimiglia’s first post-This Is Us gig was likely on the chopping block of shows that would probably be canceled, with The Company You Keep failing to surpass 4 million viewers on average, even when combining live and delayed viewership numbers.

Alaska Daily failing to be renewed for a second season was slightly more of a surprise. Two-time Academy Award best actress winner Hilary Swank starred in the ABC freshman series, and with the series garnering the time slot following ABC moneymaker Grey’s Anatomy, the crime drama seemed set up for success. It did get some help from its Live +7 numbers, which pushed it to 5.33 million average weekly viewers, but it still ranked near the bottom of the network’s scripted offerings in the 18-49 demo.

The alphabet network also announced the end of Big Sky after three seasons, and bid adieu to A Million Little Things after a heartbreaking Season 5 finale, as well as The Goldbergs, which closed the book after a decade.

ABC’s cancellation news followed the announcement that CBS was axing freshman series East New York and True Lies. The Jimmy Smits police procedural saw some behind-the-scenes drama in its solo season, with two executive producers being fired following an investigation into alleged inappropriate behavior. The reboot of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1994 movie True Lies also failed to grab enough viewers to secure a Season 2, despite the “insane level of chemistry” between stars Steve Howey and Ginger Gonzaga and the “really, really hard” stunt work required.

Netflix may not have the monopoly on canceling series after just one season, but there’s still a reason for its reputation. (Here the full list of what Netflix has canceled and renewed.) It was announced in January that the sci-fi mystery 1899 wouldn’t be returning for a second go-round. The animated dark comedy Inside Job was also axed in January, after it was previously announced that it had been renewed. And while the streaming service also chose to end Neil Patrick Harris’ rom-com series Uncoupled, Showtime chose to save it.

It’s hard to be a new series in today’s television landscape, and streaming services certainly aren’t the only ones facing that problem. The CW also canceled Walker prequel Walker: Independence and Supernatural prequel The Winchesters after their rookie seasons, though Jensen Ackles is already helping to launch a “Save The Winchesters” campaign.

There are still some decisions left to be made regarding network TV going forward, so keep your eye on our 2023 TV schedule for all of the upcoming premieres.