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Global Dynamics Closes Down: Syfy and the Eureka Cancellation Fumble

Colin Ferguson as Jack Carter.

It has been a dramatic week for the cast and crew of Signal favourite Eureka. Eight days ago, Deadline‘s always-on-the-ball Nellie Andreeva reported that the final six episode order would be the show’s last. Little did we know things would get a lot more complicated…

  • Entertainment Weekly reported that the cancellation was premature, with a quote from execs hoping the ‘franchise’ was not done.
  • Word came from the mountain that the six-episode order had been rescinded, and the show would be ending as of the season five finale.
  • Reports of the Eureka staff and crew being unhappy, and of Syfy not being terribly happy either, as the cancellation reportedly came from financial concerns from new owner Comcast. Executive Producer Amy Berg: “Everyone is asking why. It’s simple, really. We are the network’s golden child in every way, except profit margins. Fact is, Eureka is an expensive show to make. And we could not maintain the quality of our show with the cuts it would take to make us profitable for Syfy’s new parent company. Our creative execs at Syfy fought hard to keep us. Trust me, they LOVE us. We just couldn’t make the numbers work.”
  • After lobbying for the chance to end the five-year show with some grace, the Eureka crew convinced Syfy to order one episode, giving them a chance to offer the show a proper series finale.
  • And Wired released an article asking the question: what does this entire debacle mean for Syfy and new corporate overlords Comcast, PR-wise?

Since I’ve been covering Eureka here at The Signal since the midseason Christmas special, and I’m a certified fan of the show (especially since its ballsy reboot this season), I couldn’t not cover this story. It was a personal rollercoaster of emotion for me, showing me exactly how invested in the show I truly was.

How do I think this blows back of everyone involved?

First off, I think sympathy is high for the show – especially after reports from Deadline that the brief renewal meant crew members passed on job offers that are now gone. The show is a solid performer, and this is probably the most attention it’s ever received, especially in recent years. Few shows get blindsided with a renewal takeback, particularly well-received, solidly-rated fifth-year shows.

Syfy will probably be dinged by those not closely following the situation, I think. Kneejerk assumptions are to blame the network, especially after this particular network stirred up trouble by changing its name and alienated its core base with WWE and really bad movies of the week, rather than investing in good, new sci-fi series. The network, as Wired above noted, is still reeling from the failures of Caprica and Stargate Universe, two marginally-rated shows with plenty of fans. After a string of what felt like betrayals, to those not paying attention, this will just go on the list for many folks.

However, to those paying attention here, Syfy come out as real heroes. Executives at the network made the pickup to ensure the show closed everything off, and when Comcast forced them to reverse the order, they still managed to score the show a chance to make a series finale with an additional episode order. Whatever they’ve done in the past, they fought for their show here, and I’m genuinely impressed at how much they were able to do in the face of the new regime. Ultimately, the show only lost five episodes in this order, and will get a chance to wrap things up. It’s not a perfect situation, but it’s one that shows the network respects their creatives. That is a message that stands out.

To those paying attention, the real damage here was wrought by Comcast, which makes sense. It’s a new owner with no loyalty to anyone it has just acquired, in a weak economy and no real interest in the creative of its acquisition. If you’re looking for a bad guy here, Comcast is that bad guy – and, considering their stature, I’m sure it’s not a concern for them. That said, they have sent a message to the creative world they are suddenly in business with: we will not fight for you. We will make decisions about your future on a purely financial basis, and we are not on your side. Whether or not Comcast’s employees are following that line, or whether that’s the giant’s intention, that’s what it looks like from the outside. Their moves with NBC and Syfy in the next six months will be critical to either supporting this image, or reversing it.

For all we know, it was the intention to tell creative that they are not going to win any financial battles with the giant. We’ll just have to see what happens, especially at creative-friendly NBC with exciting new President Robert Greenblatt at the helm. This may be a sign that Hollywood’s creatives, like everyone else, may have to suffer through new economic instability.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Global Dynamics Closes Down: Syfy and the Eureka Cancellation Fumble”
  1. Edward says:

    Many thanks for trying to explain the terminlogy to the noobs!

  2. You my good friend are a genius

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