Why Netflix Axes Shows, and How to Try and Keep Them Alive

You may have seen posts like this one about One Day at a Time on social media – a call to action because the fate of a beloved Netflix show hangs in the balance.

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Or it could be a campaign to save a series following a cancellation.

(Editor’s note: Netflix cancelled One Day at a Time on March 14, 2019. The producers are currently seeking a new home for the series.)

Netflix didn’t have many cancellations with its first slate of originals, but over the past couple of years, they’ve been more liberal with axing shows. Because they don’t release ratings or viewership numbers, the reasons behind the decision to cancel a series haven’t always been clear.

Let’s break down some of the reasons why Netflix may choose to end a show, or delay a renewal.

One reason is Netflix now has its own studios. So they’re shifting their focus to producing original content rather than acquiring shows from other studios. This will save on licensing fees and put more money back in their own coffers.

A critical darling with a passionate fan base, One Day at a Time is produced by another studio — Sony Pictures TV. The fate of the show still hangs in the balance. Netflix is deciding whether or not it’ll be renewed for a fourth season. Although the show was in a similar limbo during its previous two seasons before getting picked up again, fans have legitimate cause to be concerned this time around given Netflix’s shift in focus.


Not even Peabody Award winner and Emmy nominee American Vandal was immune. Netflix never stated a reason why the show was being cancelled, but the fact that CBS Television Studios owned it was likely a factor.

Another reason is licensing fees. They came into play with the cancellation of Marvel’s Netflix series — Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Punisher. Despite huge viewer numbers, these were produced through a partnership with Marvel Television. Marvel is part of Disney, which will launch its own streaming service this year. And that gives Netflix even less incentive to hold on to the relationship since Disney will soon be a competitor.


Netflix is a business and money is always a deciding factor. With a show like The Get Down, the large budget and production delays were certainly two of the reasons that it didn’t last beyond a season. It also didn’t connect with viewers, much like the ambitious period drama, Marco Polo. Gypsy was another expensive production that was cancelled within weeks of its first season hitting the streaming platform. Poor reviews probably helped Netflix make that decision, even though the Season 2 writers room was already up and running. In the case of Bloodline, it was the loss of a production tax credit in the state of Florida that ended the show after just three seasons.

Netflix has shared one hint about whether or not a show survives: viewers have to watch a series on the weekend it’s released, AND they have to watch all of the episodes, preferably all within the first few days. Because that didn’t happen for Everything Sucks!, it was cancelled. Critical acclaim and fan support are not enough to keep a show alive, but they can’t hurt. At least Sense8 fans got a movie to wrap up the series following its cancellation.

Until Netflix is more open with how they operate, if there’s an original series that you’re passionate about, here’s what you can do to help keep it alive:

– Watch all of the episodes as quickly as possible upon release.

– Talk about the show on social media.

– Add Wiretap to connect with your friends and other fans while you watch.

Happy watching and best of luck keeping your fave series around.

(Photos Courtesy of Netflix)

Melissa at Wiretap

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