Not long after I mentioned the endless Breaking In posts done by Deadline.com‘s Nellie Andreeva, she announces that the show will be coming back after being canceled. I don’t think I have ever seen a website campaign as hard to save a show as Deadline campaigned for Breaking In – other than fan websites set up especially for that purpose, I mean. Right after the cancellation, and for a long time after, there would be posts wondering why Fox canceled the show when it tested so well and the ratings after American Idol were better than other shows that ran after American Idol, and so on.
I don’t doubt that the show was newsworthy: it was, after all, given a second chance by Fox and kept in contention, while most shows are just plain canceled. But a lot of the Deadline posts seemed to be specifically from the point of view of the production company, Sony, suggesting (as I said before) that Sony was pushing very hard to save the show and was trying to do so, in part, by feeding a lot of information to to the press.
The Sony executives, who believed in the show and were trying to put as much pressure as possible on Fox, seemed to have a lot of success in getting stories about what a bad idea Fox had in canceling it, how the show got good ratings (they weren’t all that good considering the time slot, though they weren’t terrible), how the testing was great. When we saw Deadline.com posts about Sony’s fight for the show and Fox’s second thoughts, we were seeing showbiz news, but I think we were also seeing the result of a very successful campaign by Sony to keep the show in the news and keep the pressure on Fox. And that’s why Breaking In is back and Traffic Light isn’t. Even though the one time Breaking In aired away from Idol, its ratings were basically as bad as Traffic Light‘s. But Traffic Light didn’t have a high-pressure campaign on its behalf.
Maybe it shows the advantages, to the producers, of not being owned by the network: it’s doubtful that Fox’s own studio would have blitzed its own network as aggressively and endlessly as Sony blitzed Fox and the media. Sony, perhaps because it isn’t affiliated with a single network (even Warners has a stake in the CW), seems to be one of the most aggressive studios when it comes to selling its product to networks. This is the studio that got ‘Til Death an extra season by practically giving it away to Fox. This is the network that still has Rules of Engagement on the air, even if it’s on a Saturday. And on a more artistically acclaimed level, this is the studio that has managed to get three seasons for Community and might very well get more. When a network buys a comedy from Sony, executives should realize that if they try to cancel it, they’re going to wake up near the severed head of the old Columbia Pictures woman.