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The Network and Studio System, and Series’ Renewals and Cancellations

Ryan Ly

A respected presence in the television literary agenting sphere, Ryan Ly guides Curate Entertainment in Los Angeles. Having arranged the sale of major television properties such as Good Girls’ Revolt and Making A Murderer, Ryan Ly understands the myriad reasons for a show's being picked up and produced.

With many series not making it a full season, one factor in whether they receive renewal or cancellation has to do with simple economics. Shows that do not achieve specific earnings thresholds cannot be kept alive, given the significant costs associated with even budget productions.
There are more options than in the past, however, when syndication was the pathway of generating revenue past initial airing of the show. To their advantage, contemporary television series have the opportunity to change platforms and continue as viable entities.
This reflects a system in which studios are paid a licensing fee per episode and per number-of-times-aired by the networks. Through paying this fee, the network is able to collect all or part of the advertising or subscription revenue generated by the show. Because the production costs are not directly shouldered by the network, this opens the potential of major earnings in case of a hit. If the show does not catch on, it can simply be dropped after the contract expires.
An example of a show that has continued beyond its network life span is The Mindy Project. Despite being dropped by Fox as not highly profitable, the show was popular enough that it met the lower threshold set by Hulu and thus could continue as a Hulu-licensed entity for further seasons.

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