Kings: NBC Exec Explains Why the Ambitious Drama Failed

KingsUnder the reign of Ben Silverman, NBC spent a whole lot of money on Kings — about $4 million an episode. Unfortunately for the peacock network, most viewers weren’t interested and the network lost a lot of money.

After three weeks of low ratings, they shuffled the series off to die on Saturday evenings, when viewership is typically lower anyway. While many devoted fans tuned in each week to watch actors like Ian McShane, Christopher Egan, Allison Miller, Susanna Thompson, Sebastian Stan, Eamonn Walker, and Dylan Baker, the numbers weren’t enough for the show to go back into production.

Not only won’t Kings be returning for a second season but NBC isn’t planning on taking that kind of ambitious risk again. The network’s President of Primetime Entertainment, Angela Bromstad, said this week, “It was a great production, but our challenge now is, you need to sell something. People want to know what something is about.”

Bromstad continued, “Kings was a complex idea. It was originally developed when I was [at NBC] before. We didn’t make it [then] because we thought it was a little too high brow and too difficult to sell in a 30 second slot. It doesn’t mean we’re not looking for big ideas [but] they have to be big ideas that the audience can grab on to.”

What do you think? Was the concept too much for the audience to grasp or did it fail for another reason? Too good for network TV?

Canceled and renewed TV show

115 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Liz says

    I was very let down to read that Kings was cancelled. It had more depth and plot than most shows I have seen in years. I was instantly captivated by it’s characters and story lines that followed each person and how they all intermingled. The network big boys have sadly sold out for reality tv that is just not satisfying to me anymore (or other viwers i’m sure) R.I.P. “Kings” :0(

  2. says

    I was just looking for when the next season of KINGS would air, and just realized it isnt happening. I was really surprised and shocked. it is one of the best television shows i have seen in years. the story line and characters are great. it has really good actors to support its cause. im just wondering what is going in these tv producers heads. why let something really good go that is worth saving and keeping around.

  3. Zachary says

    I have watched a lot of television in my time, and KINGS possesses all things good about television. Entertainment has gotten way too shallow and meaningless, it hurts to turn on the screen because I know I will always be disappointed, let down, and left completely unsatisfied. KINGS, however, made me want more. It quenched some inward emptiness, some story that has been told so many times but is now new. This was one small, but great step to some sort of renewal of the entertainment industry, and now that hope is gone.

  4. nicole says

    I love the characters and am totally hooked. I’ve been watching the episodes on hulu and am amazed at the series. Is there anything we can do to get it back? I also love the David/ Saul biblical connections. I hope someone out there reads these comments and can make it happen.

  5. CAS says

    Intelligent quality programming like KINGS, is a rarity on television broadcasting. Hope is lost amongst reality tv and media mediocrity.

  6. says

    I’m very disappointed that Kings has been cancelled – I was waiting for Silas to return and take care of business!

    I agree with all previous statements; how on earth could this show not receive good ratings? Who’s doing the counting? I absolutely love this show!

    Just when I’d decided that all television offered was a truckload of reality tv mess; Kings aired. Ah, hope renewed!

  7. Vanessa says

    Kings was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Well-chosen actors, creative directing, and phenomenal story-telling, this show is top notch. My husband and I are youth Pastors and are amazed at the quality. We had to buy the season on DVD and LOVED it! Shame to have it stop there! This NEEDS another shot. Someone definitely should pick this up and finish it well.

  8. Brad says

    NO ONE ASKED ME! I have had TIVO for years. Download the stupid data and you will see what TIVO and REPLAY owners are watching, instead of those silly stupid Nielson Ratings of old people on rabbit ears.

    Just who is giving you a warped rating these days!

  9. Louis says

    I find it so depressing that quality doesn’t seem to hold any weight anymore. Kings was an epic show, a show that actually required thought! I cannot believe that it was canceled while the ridiculous reality shows are thriving on every network. It was a show of merit, and it was highly original. NBC killed a television jewel, and I would love to see it brought back in some form.

  10. Mrs.C says

    So sad that this awesome show got axed. Does anyone have a brain or an imagination anymore? In case you are wondering what will happen next read your bible! The story about David and King Silas (Saul in the old testament) Starts in the book of I Samuel. It saddens me that Jews and Christians alike wouldn’t recognize a beautifully creative retelling of such an important story in the bible. Go and digest more reality show garbage lemmings!

  11. Karen & Anthony says

    Hello. My husband and I “stumbled” upon Kings when it aired back in April. What an intense, thought provoking mini-series that continued to challenge our “moral fiber” by its strong Biblical parallels. We were hooked immediately!

    The selection of the actors were “on point” which assisted the audience to experience first-hand the dynamics of the City of Gilboa and its issues. King Silas exuded royalty with ALL its ego and quirks. His portrayal reflected the passions, vulnerabilities and dark side of the human heart.

    Kings was an honest and refreshing series which allowed the viewers to participate in lives of the “first family” of the City of Gilboa. Every twist, unexpected scriptural parallel held our attention as we desired for MORE when the show ended weekly. It’s an unfortunate loss for quality and content that is absent in network and other television venues.

    The execs at NBC should be creative enough to financially manipulate their investments (lower costs) and continue in the quality of the show. A Saturday or Sunday 8:00 slot would be most appropriate.

    K & A

  12. Liane says

    This is the best show there has been in years. it was something totally different than the other shows. everything nowadays is the same. either about some hospital, some detective or criminal show or some vampire show or something. there are no original shows anymore. But kings is a whole different concept which would pay off. Me and some friends would watch every show & be bummed when it ended and knew we’d have to wait another week just to see it. i think it would have made so much money for NBC if they’d given it some time. I also think Saturday was not the best time to put it. thats when no one really wants to stay home and watch a show. They’d rather be doing something else that doesn’t require them to stay home and watch television. with a better day it would have in my opinion sky rocketed.

  13. Mary says

    NBC made a big mistake cancelling Kings. Kings was the most creative show that I’ve seen in forever. Imagine having to really pay attention, use your brain and think as you watch and are entertained. I know that I looked forward to watching every week and I know many others that did to. We talked about what was going on with the story line during the week and speculated on what to expect the following week. It is such a waste to just discard all the hard work and talent that went into creating this series. Bring it back, continue the story, make your viewers happy to watch NBC.

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