ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey is talking about why the network cancelled its Downward Dog TV show after just one season. From the TCA summer press tour, the Post-Gazette reports Dungey said they tried to make a more limited second season of the show, but couldn’t make the numbers work.
An ABC sitcom based on the web series of the same name, Downward Dog stars Allison Tolman, Lucas Neff, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Barry Rothbart, Siovhan Christensen, Ayden Mayeri, Andrew Gorell, Sam Hodges (voice), and Ned the dog. The sitcom centers on Nan (Tolman), and is narrated by her philosophically inclined and rather forlorn dog, Martin (voiced by Hodges).
Here’s more from the Post-Gazette:
The network canceled filmed-in-Pittsburgh comedy “Downward Dog” despite strong social media buzz and rave reviews —better notices than any of ABC’s new fall shows, which range from mediocre to kind of bad, will get. (Among TV series premiering in 2017, “Downward Dog” is one of just three broadcast network shows to rank among the Top 60 of 134 best-reviewed programs at Metacritic.com.)
Ms. Dungey confirmed what “Downward Dog” producers have said about attempts to keep the show afloat at ABC. “There are always parts of this job that are creatively heartbreaking,” she said after an ABC press conference Sunday. “We very much wanted to do a second season of ‘Downward Dog.’ We engaged in a series of conversations and ultimately we were not able to make it work financially, which is disappointing because it’s a show that I would have loved to have an opportunity to bring back.”
Ms. Dungey said ABC wanted to do a limited run of episodes, which was not as financially viable. “We didn’t have the ratings to justify doing a full 13 and we just weren’t able to get there,” she said.
Could “Downward Dog” have survived if it had been given the in-season Tuesday time slot after “Fresh Off the Boat” that went to the disappointing and since-canceled “Imaginary Mary”? “I think we made the best choices based on the information we had at the time,” Ms. Dungey said. “You can Monday morning quarterback anything. What does bum me out is I think they had some great ideas for season two and I really love those producers and that cast.”
As of Friday, “Downward Dog” producers were still attempting to revive “Downward Dog” somewhere other than ABC but their options have dwindled. Streaming service Hulu, among others, passed on the show.
Downward Dog: A Look at the Ratings
The first season of Downward Dog averaged a 0.71 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 3.47 million viewers. When sorted by its demo ratings, Downward Dog ranked 20th of the 26 scripted ABC TV shows we’re tracking. When sorted by total audience size, it only rose to 16th place. Dr. Ken, which outpaced it in both measures, was also cancelled by the Alphabet Network.
What do you think? Did you watch the Downward Dog TV series? Should it have been cancelled or renewed for season two on ABC?