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Decision Reversals: A TV Network's Dilemma

On the morning of 24th January 2017, Deadline reported that Amazon had cancelled its upcoming comedy Highston, despite giving it a full series order. I can't say I was excited about the pilot, but what bothers me about this news is that this isn't an isolated incident.


Back in 2014, Amazon ordered The After, a high profile drama from the creator of The X-Files to series, only to reverse their decision in January 2015. Amazon isn't the only network who has done such a thing. HBO also cancelled The Brink and Vinyl after their 1st seasons despite being given orders for their respective second seasons. Even broadcast networks have made similar decisions such as Fox with Hieroglyph and NBC with Next Caller.

But keep in mind that going back on their decisions is not something a network does without reason. I don't think networks should be vilified for a decision reversal since there can be many factors involved behind the scenes such as creative differences or issues during production which may not necessarily be their fault. Networks do not benefit from doing this since they mostly provide bad publicity for the network. That is why these kinds of incidents are very rare in the business.

Moving back to Amazon, I think they may have done worse than the other networks. While the HBO shows already gave their fans some form of closure and the other shows I mentioned were cancelled before airing a single episode, Amazon released their pilots first to generate interest for the shows. They made their viewers excited for more episodes, only to soon leave them disappointed.

Highston's cancellation marks another problem. With only 4 comedies currently on their roster, Highston would have been a part of Amazon's expansion of its comedy brand but it's cancellation makes it look like Amazon has taken two steps forward and one step back with their growth. Fortunately Amazon still has 3 upcoming comedies set to air this year. I hope for their sake that their new shows are successful enough to justify their actions.