Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor
I don't know why networks cancel shows in their first season anymore. If you've spent all the money greenlighting a show, why not just ride it out for a season, release the DVD boxset over the summer and see if word of mouth is positive enough among fans of the show to get new people on board for season 2.
I can't remember the last time I picked up a show right from Episode 1 of Season 1 -- even when I get a "oh you have to watch this show" from a friend, I'll wait until the season is over and grab the DVDs to catch up over the summer.
Networks are killing themselves with the quick trigger finger.
It really depends on the show format, the costs of the show and the promises made to advertisers.
If a show is more episodic like CSI or a three camera show like Big Bang Theory it is more likely to get time to gain an audience. A new viewer can jump in on episode 15 and be able to catch up.
If it's a more plot driven show like The Cape or Lonestar than the networks are going to pay attention a lot more to the first few weeks.
Networks haven't been as quick on the trigger the last few seasons actually. There have been a few casualities but many fringe shows have made it through as networks get used to things like DVR/Tivo ratings, online viewership and working on different types of advertising agreements.