Give viewers one season's notice before canceling a television series with cliffhangers

Give viewers one season's notice before canceling a television series with cliffhangers

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Matthew N started this petition to HBO and

Television series with on-going plots lure in viewers with constant twists and cliff-hangers. The Walking Dead is a great example of a show with unexpected turns and a riveting plot that captivates audiences.

However, all too often series are canceled without resolve. This happens when a television network decides to discontinue a show between seasons. When this happens, fans are left without closure. Our years of loyalty to a story are disregarded as if they meant nothing to the network.

Sign to demand that television networks give enough notice before canceling a show to settle cliffhangers.

I get it. Sometimes shows fail to meet their goals. But being a fan of a series isn't predicated on its financial success. I don't binge-watch shows because they are meeting financial or viewership milestones. I do it because I am invested in the character and plot development. The show has entrenched itself into my life. Even hearing a soundtrack can be nostalgic, reminding me of shows passed. The show's memories are now our memories, as if we were part of the cast, living in their world and sharing in their adventures.

An example of a canceled show is Dark Matter, which lasted three seasons on SyFy. Granted the show wasn't perfect. The acting was good, not great. The CG budget wasn't the biggest. But the story was juicy. The third season ended with a huge cliff-hanger. The show reached an average of 600k viewers in its final season. Not a huge number, but this is SyFy, not HBO. In contrast, SyFy's The Magicians was renewed for a fourth season with an average viewership of 710k. Not a huge difference. Also, Joseph Mallozzi, Dark Matter's creator, pitched a six-episode final season to wrap up the season three cliffhanger which SyFy rejected.

Obviously, I understand that this is business and networks need to make such decisions to survive. However, this is a terrible customer experience. Tech companies like Amazon and Google have worked for years finding the right balance between customer- and business-driven decisions. It's time for television networks to catch up. Renewing Dark Matter for a final "closure" season wouldn't have meant the end for SyFy, especially since it's owned and backed by some big players (NBCUniversal, Comcast).

Currently, television is undergoing a fragmentation process. Streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu make cable-cutting possible, allowing people to pick and choose what they want to pay for. Many networks (HBO, Disney) have followed suit, creating direct-to-consumer streaming services. The battle for consumers' subscription dollars between networks and services is intensifying. Improvements in customer experience will become more and more crucial for the success of such battles. I am creating this petition in hopes that one of them, if not many, catch on sooner.

The Ask

I am asking television networks to show its viewers enough gratitude and respect for their loyalty to give one season's notice before canceling a series. This is very open to the interpretation of the network. The final season can be shorter than normal, with just enough episodes to resolve cliffhangers. The season doesn't have to air on live television, perhaps being distributed online only, either straight to Netflix or the company's own streaming service. 

We, as fans, invest in you. Please invest in us.

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