The age of peak TV is definitely coming to an end. While spectacular shows like Genius and American Gods receive little fanfare and the Handmaid’s Tale looks like a bad dream, TV Channels that tried to shock the world with original scripted series are going back to basics.
Original Shows Quarry and Underground, were never household names and while part of that problem may have been lack of interest, word of mouth, or the fact that people had a hard time finding what channels these shows are on. Those are just excuses. It’s tough to be a breakout when 450 TV shows are on the air or streaming.
In WGN’s case, they have basically stated that they are tuning out their scripted series in a “reallocating” effort to feature more “diverse programming.” In TV Lingo, diverse programming means less quality programming that will enable them to save money. If taken literally, WGN’s explanation for cancelling Underground, makes little sense. As it was widely considered to be the most diverse TV show of the era, with it’s all black cast. Its stellar ratings boosted WGN into the limelight, and it looks like they couldn’t handle the pressure.
When Cinemax cancelled The Knick, earlier this year, analysts had a feeling Quarry was going to be next because in that statement they said that they were returning to a “recalibrated original programming strategy,” one that they started with from the beginning, “fun, high-octane, action, pulpy, straight-to-series dramas done in a cost-effective way primarily as international co-productions.”