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Women Created Shows That Have Been Canceled

by Kerensa Cadenas
May 17, 2013 11:15 AM
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The last couple weeks have been a bloodbath when it's come to television cancellations. Great women created shows like Ann Biderman's Southland on TNT didn't make it. Here are some of the women created shows that got canceled this season with a focus on the main networks. We hope to see more great work from these talented women on our television screens again soon.

All cancellation information is from TV By The Numbers.


Smash - Theresa Rebeck

Deception - Liz Heldens

Whitney - Whitney Cummings

Up All Night - Emily Spivey

Guys WIth Kids - Co-Creator Amy Ozols


Ben and Kate - Dana Fox

The CW: 

Emily Owens M.D. - Jennie Snyder


Made in Jersey - Dana Calvo

CSI: NY - Co-Creators Ann Donahue, Carol Mendelsohn


Don't Trust the B--- in Apartment 23 - Nahnatchka Khan

How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) - Claudia Lonow

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More: Television, Women Writers

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  • Linn D. | May 20, 2013 1:09 PMReply

    WHOA. Fellow W&H readers. Time out. There's a lot of Fox/Kevin Reilly bashing on this post. Not Cool. This is the same channel that is airing The Mindy Project and New Girl. Both female created/showrunner shows. Both picked up for another season. We are not helping ourselves by bashing executives if we do not honor the facts. "Every show on Fox is some misogynisitc crap." "Kevin Reilly basically put out the word no women working for me." How is anyone going to take us or this blog seriously, if we change the facts? I do agree more women directors need to get jobs on TV, and I will try and support the TV shows that promote females behind the camera (here's looking at you Nashville). But to write incorrect information does not help our cause... to get more female talent working in Hollywood (in front and behind the camera).

  • Linn D. | May 21, 2013 8:26 PM

    @D, thanks for commenting. 1) I believe in positive reinforcement. Reward the good behavior and Ignore the bad behavior. We humans are not that far from animals, where this training comes from. So reward Mr. Reilly's good behavior of renewing New Girl and The Mindy Project. Ignore the bad behavior. (besides most of those shows will get canceled before the year is out - it's the Darwinism of TV) 2) If we, women, complain about the situation and we are inaccurate about the facts - my fear is it is more easily dismissed. You know, "those women don't know what they're talking about. They're using feelings, not logic." It only weakens our stance, in my opinion. 3) I think it comes across as rude, disrespectful and ungrateful not to acknowledge that New Girl and The Mindy Project are two of the most forward thinking shows on women's issues in a wonderful comedic fashion. To "spit" on Mr. Reilly, who's shepherded those shows - could alienate him. The very person we want on our side. I don't see success in our future if we alienate all the people in charge... Hell, even if Mr. Reilly personally hates those two shows, by the very fact he renewed them - he's helping women. We should give appreciation where it is due. If nothing else, get him to publicly support these shows so if they're on the bubble next spring, he can be pressured into renewing them again. And most important - WATCH TV SHOWS WITH FEMALE CREATORS. RATINGS are what decide if a TV show is picked up or not. If we don't watch the shows - no matter how good they are - they will get canceled. If we want the change, we have to do something proactive. Not just complain with uneducated postings. I firmly believe, we are either part of the solution or we are part of the problem. Oh, but I did think your point about TV execs trying to figure out why the perception of a TV channel is inaccurate is worthy of note. Funny enough, I think of Fox as forward-thinking for females. Much better than, say, CBS or NBC. Because of the above two shows and in general with Fox - the female leads tend to be more active. Less "woe is me, I need to be rescued." In The Following one of the women is a killer (the ex-nanny) - you rarely see that on CBS/NBC... (Not that I think the solution is all female characters should be killers) :)

  • d | May 21, 2013 4:22 PM

    Hi Linn D.,

    I probably agree I that there’s some bashing. What I’d disagree with is the idea that it’s necessarily uncool to do it, at least in the way I’ve seen in this particular thread. To me, what it really boils down to is the mission and nature of the blog.

    One of its main purposes is to disseminate information that we wouldn’t ordinarily get; Hollywood is so male-centric, that much of what Melissa reports goes under the radar, unless you are really looking for it. So she, and her staff, needs to be above the fray. But this isn’t an insider or trade blog. This place never seemed particularly targeted toward the industry, or at least not entirely. It’s for everyone who simply wants this: to see women take a more prominent role in Hollywood, in all ways- behind the camera and in front, above and below the line.

    How is anyone going to take us seriously? I’d ask how can they not? They are execs, owners, and employees of major companies. It’s their job to both know and pay attention. I’m just a gal looking for some inclusion in my entertainment. Why should blog posters have to play the dry impartial, or come armed with a plethora of reasons for heads to take notice? I have money to spend, and eyes to watch (and a voice to pass along good word of mouth for something I enjoy). And isn’t that what companies want? So it’d be in their best interest to please me, regardless of how legitimate, or illegitimate, my desires are.

    If I were an exec, and had a great lineup, and random bloggers thought my stuff was misandrist, first I would think what the @#$!!/#? Er, more or less. :) Then I might grab a really large latte, but then after that, I would look into it- see why they thought what they did, because if I understand the basis, then I could make my own judgment on if it’s true or not. If it is, what can I do to course correct, and if it’s not, how can I change the perception to show the inclusiveness.

    So it’s not a newspaper, we don’t need to reference sources. We may not even get some of the info we do. Maybe people are in the know who can only really throw out info cryptically, and it’s just up to us to figure it out (us the posters/readers, not Melissa’s stuff, which is annotated, unless she’s just giving her opinion).

    Take for instance, Singra’s comments. I can’t say it’s fact. But I also can’t say it’s not either. Here’s what I do know. Fox has made it very obvious that they are trying to court male viewers. And I thought Maria’s comment was telling, in that the shows she cited had so little female direction. If that is happening on female –created shows, what hope would there be for women to work on predominantly male shows? It’s not zero, but I’m guessing it’s not high. And why not have some female led shows, even if you’re skewing male?

    And we’re in another season of summer movies dominated by hero fare. That didn’t happen because the fans were calm, rational, and approached Hollywood with sound arguments. In fact, some of those comments frankly scare me. No, they expressed their fervor! And when it was demonstrated that listening to them can produce great profit, Hollywood suddenly attended comicons and courted fan opinion. Yet there’s a disconnect when it comes to women, who make up a much larger percentage. I know people point to women’s diversity in taste, but anyone who spends any time in comic fandom knows they are not a monolith either. Scandal’s a smashing success. Yet, it seems there was no run mimicking the aspects of that show. Will we see a whole slew of either political shows, or shows led by AA females?

    And that is not only illogical, it also defies their own past behavior. So I don’t think we need polite conversation on this. Eventually you grow weary of the constant marginalization. And sometimes you don’t feel like giving a seasoned, rational argument. Sometimes you just want to say, “This really, REALLY SUCKS! I want better!”

    I know I said all that, but I do agree with you that there is a line, we probably just don’t agree where it is.


  • Maria Giese | May 18, 2013 3:16 AMReply

    The shows that are cited made have been created by women, but look how many women were hired to direct episodes! There seems to be some kind of disconnect going on. These talented women show creators don't seem to trust talented women directors. (Check out "Women Directors: Navigating the Boys' Club" to see more statistics about women directors).

    Smash - Theresa Rebeck - 32 episodes: 9 episodes directed by women
    Deception - Liz Heldens - 11 episodes, 1 episode directed by a woman
    Whitney - Whitney Cummings – 38 episodes, 4 episodes directed by women
    Up All Night - Emily Spivey – 35 episodes, 4 episodes directed by women
    Guys WIth Kids - Co-Creator Amy Ozols – 17 episodes, 3 episodes directed by one women

    Ben and Kate - Dana Fox – 16 episodes, 3 episodes directed by women
    90210 - The CW: 114 Episodes, 31 episodes directed by women
    Emily Owens M.D. - Jennie Snyder, 13 episodes, 4 episodes directed by women

    Made in Jersey - Dana Calvo – 8 episodes, zero directed by women!
    CSI: NY - Co-Creators Ann Donahue, Carol Mendelsohn – 295 episodes, 7 directed by women

    Don't Trust the B--- in Apartment 23 - Nahnatchka Khan - 20 episodes, 6 episodes directed by women
    How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) - Claudia Lonow – 9 episodes, 1 directed by a women.

  • deejae | May 17, 2013 6:35 PMReply

    Even show's like ABC's hit series, "Once Upon A Time," one of my favorites that started its first season with incredibly strong leading female characters, fell back into targeting the male market in their season 2 when they brought in a whole slew of additional male characters and the women got pushed into the backseat while the boys took over the 'hero' spots in the show.

  • Chappy | May 17, 2013 4:31 PMReply

    It's a mess and the networks are self destructing before our eyes. If they want to shed more viewers then fine. Every show on Fox is some misogynisitc crap. Apparently Kevin Reilly believes the failure of Mob Doctor means women won't watch Fox or women can't lead TV shows on his network. It was really just a badly conceived show that Reilly loved. When his JJ Abrams shows failed Reilly didn't decide JJ Abrams or men don't belong on Fox. Women have to speak up and be more aggressive about the truth. Instead we cower and go oh well...

  • Singra | May 17, 2013 12:26 PMReply

    Fox didn't pick up a single show new show created by a woman or about a woman. Kevin Reilly basically put out the word no women working for me. It's the truth.
    ABC picked up one or two. NBC one and CBS one. CW has a couple. Its never been worst statistically.
    Please do a story on this.
    Drama was a bloodbath. Most of the shows center around men from male writers. Not sure there is one female centric show except on CW.
    The trend is that women will be shunted over to CW like Lifetime.
    They ask why audiences are leaving in droves from network. It's because it's all created by white men for white men hoping their girlfriends or wives will watch.
    Scandal was tossed on mid season because ABC brass hated it. Hated it.
    They didn't think anyone would watch an African American woman because JJ Abrams had an African American woman co lead on a show that failed a few years back. And the belief is JJ can't fail. It must be the womans fault. The African American womans fault.
    So the audience finds Scandal and loves it.
    ABC has their only hit.
    The problem is they don't learn the lesson.
    Leave the creators alone to do their job. Women will watch women created by women.
    So will men.
    It's a kick ass show.
    She doesn't have to be lady like. She doesn't have to behave networks dictate female characters must behave.
    Yes CBS has a list.
    The WGA recently put out a study in March that at the rate hirings and payment is going it will take 42 YEARS for women WGA members to be on a par with men. 42 YEARS!!!!
    Please do a story on that.
    Love you Melissa!

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