- Daily Show - Comedy Central
- Colbert Report - Comedy Central
- Survivor - CBS
- Mad Men - AMC
- My Name Is Earl - NBC
- 30 Rock - NBC
- The Office - NBC
- Monk - USA
- Doctor Who - SciFi
- The Thirsty Traveler - Fine Living
Firefly is probably my favorite show to come out in the last ten years. But it's also a really good example of exactly why I think the broadcast networks are declining even faster than they might have otherwise. That was a great show and Fox stuck it into a bad Friday night time slot and cancelled it after fewer than a dozen airings. I can understand yanking a stinker that isn't drawing ratings, but you can't possibly tell me that Fox had anything in development that would've been more likely to succeed than taking a flyer on another 13 episodes of Firefly. I'm sure I would've come across it and become a regular viewer had it made it longer than two months. But instead, before starting to watch it on DVD on a friend's recommendation, about all I remember of its broadcast career was thinking, "Hey, that looked pretty interesting. Too bad it was cancelled."
It's a vicious circle, since the propensity of networks to yank shows so quickly has made viewers pretty reluctant to commit to any show until it's been around for a season or two. And so new shows get cancelled quicker than ever. It's no wonder that most of the good TV these days is on cable channels that are more willing to give a show a longer chance to find an audience.
I'm kind of hoping the growth of the DVD after-life for most shows will help to give good shows a longer window of opportunity. I recently heard an interview with one of the producers of that new Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon who said DVD revenue was an important part of the business model that led Sony to green-light the production.