James Duff has opened up on the cancellation of Major Crimes.
Following his opening salvo, the creator pinned the cancellation on the cabler’s ongoing quest to rebrand its identity rather than ratings, and noted that the show is “not dead yet,” with 13 final episodes to close the series:
I have to be careful what I say on Facebook! I had no idea the media would run with my last post about the cancellation of Major Crimes, which was really just a hasty answer to all the people inundating me with messages, asking if I was pulling the show myself. Perhaps this post will be less newsworthy. But I promised to come back with a few words about why our show was cancelled and so here I am.
Obviously, Major Crimes did not end from a case of viewer collapse disorder! In 2017, so far, Major Crimes has been the highest rated show on our network. Also, last year, before we were taken out of the summer line-up, and lost our November/December berth (particularly hard for us because we loved being with our viewers during the holidays), Major Crimes averaged over ten million viewers an episode on all platforms, with minimal marketing costs. We do as well (or better) in the much discussed demo than many of TNTs other shows. And we were axed before we even had a chance to premiere our sixth season: that was not a ratings decision. But here’s the rub. Our network wants to change its identity. Kevin Reilly, the CEO of Turner Entertainment, came on board two-and-a-half years ago with the specific mission of developing edgier fare. Of course, Major Crimes does many dark stories (dead children boxed up in a refrigerator; incestuous molestation of a minor; violently murdered transgendered twelve-year-olds), but we are always going to be a police procedural. And though, in my biased opinion, I believe our show could co-exist with all the new series that have bowed over the last year-and-a-half, those responsible for the long-term health of TNT disagree, and believe the money spent on Major Crimes – which, to them, represents the past – would be better invested in the future they have been tasked to create. Also, that the presence of Major Crimes is counter to their goal of creating an entirely fresh face for the next generation of consumers. Thus, our absence at the Television Critics Association confab this summer and a lowered marketing profile. From the executive offices at TNT, these decisions have seemed unavoidable. Little surprise that I should see things differently!
Cable faces serious competition from streaming platforms (and other modes of delivery in the offing). I thought the community of Major Crimes – our cast, writers, amazing crew and loyal audience – could work as a bulwark against market forces. But I could very well be wrong, and bear no responsibility for Turner’s long-term financial prospects. Mr. Reilly has to make decisions like cancelling Major Crimes all the time, and must approach them from what he believes is right and proper for the success of his company. So there the matter rests. I want to defend the value of our show, but I don’t want to be petty. And no matter which side of this debate has properly assessed the situation, the sun will still rise, the earth shall continue spinning on its axis, and life will go on. My bottom line? I love my job. I love my producing partner, Michael M. Robin, who helped make so many dreams come true. I love the people with whom it was my privilege to collaborate on a daily basis. I loved the relationships we developed with our audience, and the way we learned to nourish each other over the years. The Closer and Major Crimes endowed me with deeper purpose than I have found anywhere else in my professional life. I am loathe to see our mutual endeavor pass away. Indeed, hearing so many kind and generous tributes over the last few days has made me feel (a bit) like I’m attending my own funeral. Happily, to quote Monty Python, “I’m not dead yet.” And neither is Major Crimes. We have thirteen brand new episodes to debut, starting on Halloween! If it is not the most auspicious date on which to return, at least it is memorable. Truthfully, October 31st has never felt more frightening, but hopefully we will scare up an audience somehow! I will be back blogging before each episode, and Facebook interviewing the cast on the day of air, just as I always do, knowing that we all did the very best we could to anticipate this moment before it arrived. I bring you thanks from Mary McDonnell, G. W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan (or MPC as we call him!), Raymond Cruz, Phillip P. Keene, Graham Patrick Martin, Kearran Giovanni, Jonathan Del Arco, Leonard Roberts, Jessica Meraz, Daniel Di Tomasso, Jon Tenney, Kathe Mazur, René Rosado, Dawnn Lewis, Bill Brochtrup, Ransford Doherty and everyone who has devoted themselves to making this the most emotional season of Major Crimes ever. We appreciate everything our viewers have done to demonstrate they care about our little corner of the television landscape. Your voices have lifted our spirits during this difficult time. Sorry for the long post! And we’ll talk again soon.
Are you still upset by TNT’s culling of Major Crimes? Just grateful that there are 13 final episodes before the series enters the cancellation graveyard?