Will Social Distance Guidelines Lead to More Shows Getting Cancelled?
The New Regulations Could be Too Much For Some Shows to Bear.
Felix Quiñonez Jr.
Hulu recently announced the cancellation of their show High Fidelity, starring Zoe Kravitz, and like many people, I was stunned. The first season was critically acclaimed, currently holding an 86% fresh rating at Rotten tomatoes. The critical consensus declared;
“High Fidelity’s fresh take on a familiar track is as witty as it is emotionally charged…”
Audiences seemed to enjoy the show; it had a diverse cast, and the star, Zoe Kravitz, publicly stated that she wanted to do another season. The show even had some famous fans. Mindy Kaling tweeted that she was sad to hear about the show’s cancellation. For all these reasons, it seemed like a lock to get renewed for a second season. So, when Hulu announced its cancellation, many people were left scratching their heads. After the show’s cancellation, Zoe Kravitz called out Hulu’s lack of shows with diverse casting tweeting;
“It’s cool. At least Hulu has a ton of other shows starring women of color we can watch. Oh, wait.”
And when you consider all the things the show had in its favor, it’s not crazy to think that there might have been external reasons for meeting its untimely demise. It’s not unreasonable to believe that the pandemic might have played a role in that decision.
In the months since COVID19 has ravaged the world, TV-show production came to a screeching halt. TV shows and movies have only recently gone back into production. But like with everything else, it will look a lot different in the new, Post-COVID19 world we are currently living in.
And it’s clear that even though filming will resume, things won’t be back to, “business as usual” for quite some time. Shows returning to production will have very extensive guidelines to adhere to. Joanna Cabello, Assistant Accountant, who has worked on Pose and Little America, among other shows, explains that;
“A LOT of money is being poured into COVID testing and deep cleaning. We are required to track costs and savings related to COVID”
And there is no doubt that these new practices will be strongly felt on TV Show sets. Joanna added that,
“This may have an impact on how many shows are renewed or get greenlit. I think we will see a decrease in scripted shows and an increase in nonunion unscripted shows”
It’s no secret that a lot of risk management assessment already goes into getting any show or movie on the screen. Artistic merit is hardly the only deciding factor when it comes to greenlighting or renewing a show. Meetings are held, spreadsheets are filled, all in the hopes of determining if a show will draw enough viewers to justify a network’s investment.
Undoubtedly, many shows are already walking a tightrope in which anything can push them over to getting canceled. And the extra burden these guidelines might place on production could be just the thing that gets them canceled. And even shows that stick around might experience production changes. As Joanna points out,
“We are already seeing content that is filmed at home on a shoestring. This may become the norm which would cost jobs.”
So, it’s not crazy to think that these new guidelines could be a deterrent to keeping some shows going. It’s easy to imagine an executive saying, “We want another season of this show, but do we want it enough to put up with the new guidelines?” I have a feeling High Fidelity won’t be the last show that unexpectedly gets canceled. COVID19 has impacted just about every aspect of life; it’s no surprise that it should also change how and what shows get made.