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. Terrance says

    So is this what American TV has come to?… Watching people lose weight, watching over the hill and B rated celebrities trying to work for a real estate mogul, watching idiots on a stranded island, and watching moronic couples airing their marital problems for the world to see???

    Kings was the most captivating drama on TV since the likes of ER. I can appreciate that NBC has a business to run and the bottom line is profitability. However, some things will not turn you a profit immediately. Any smart business person should know that. This series had such a fantastic cast that I can only imagine that it did not come cheap. The studio settings for this show must have also cost a pretty penny because just like all of the other fans, I found it visually captivating. So then that must have left NBC little to spend on marketing the series. How could NBC executives be so short-sighted and forget how to sell their product.

    Now that there has been proper marketing done on the internet, Kings has a bigger viewer population than ever! I have yet to find any negative posting regarding this show. It is a shame that NBC isn’t willing to give it’s slightly more intellectual viewers who have no interest in mindless reality tv an opportunity to sit down and actually engage with a show that does not end when the credits role. A show that inspires discussions with others about real life issues…

    Needless to say I, along with every other fan, am extremely disheartened by the cancellation of this show and would hope that NBC realizes that it will go down as one of the biggest mistakes in history if they do not reverse this decision. It’s been done before for far worse shows.

    Let’s kick off an email campaign to let Jeff Zucker, the President of NBC Universal Television Group, know how we feel. Send him an email at to tell him that we want them to BRING KINGS BACK.

  2. Joe says

    Have we become this dummed down in America where a beautifully written and inspirational show can’t stand up to a series like “Flavor of Love”

    NBC… shame on you!!! Some things are worth the risk. But in this case, you never took the risk from the beginning. You can clearly see that there were little (IF ANY) commercials to advertise this series. I, Like many others simply got bored one day and began surfing and stumbled upon this show and have been promoting it ourselves. This series is a depiction of what America is about, making the most of what you have, and fighting for what’s good.

    I feel that NBC never wanted Kings to come off the ground in the first place.
    I am a HUGE 24 fan but more than that I love Heroes. After I ran out of episodes I found Kings while surfing sites, and I stopped to read about it simply because it had a beautiful cover. From the first episode I realized this was more than just looks, this was a goose pimpling, inspirational show that was powerful in all aspects. Superb in all facets of acting, cinematography, plot, music…you name it, it leaves one speechless. I began to watch this series over 24 and over ( I cant believe I’m saying it but…) Heroes!

    Kings became my number 1 favorite show. It hurts to know a series so powerful would get the boot before ever having a fighting chance to survive!

    NBC = Nothing But Crap!

  3. Kory says

    Its a sad sad day… When will networks learn that people need substance, not this crap they constantly play on the air like mindless reality TV? I mean really… Really NBC? You put an intellectual show on TV knowing that 90% of your views are brian dead and you expect it to JUMP off just like that? Really NBC…. Really? IT IS A GREAT SHOW, but it does force people to think and look inwards at themselves. AMERICA take a while for that to happen and they should be given that chance. Taking the show off the air because a billion dollar network loses a couple million… OH I AM SSSSSOOOO SORRY YOU HAD TO GET THE NEW BMW INSTEAD OF THE BENTLEY THIS YEAR MR EXECUTIVE.

    • Heather says

      I just had a chance to finish Kings and I am EXTREMELY disappointed that there will not be another season :( I was left on the edge of my chair each episode and could not wait to watch the next one. I am quite angry that NBC would take such an excellent show and not finish the story. Please bring Kings back another season!!!!!

  4. Sick of Broadcast Networks says

    NBC just keeps getting dumber and dumber by cancelling yet another good show. I have been waiting for this to return, just found out it was cancelled. I know fellow Kings watchers know how I felt when I heard the news, but I dont think NBC really cares much. Lately the networks have been killing the good shows, yet keeping the shows that NO ONE, that I know anyway, watches. It down right pisses me off, to think this was a failure.

  5. Anne Rose says

    NBC if you were smart you would bring back Kings. I agree with alot of people that it was not properly advertised, but now that it has caught on through the web, I feel like the ratings would increase because the web did the job that your advertising team did not. Genius is hard to stifle for long and it is apparent that Kings has caught on. I am sure NBC can afford to take a risk and try to bring back worthy dramatic tv….reality tv is overrated and overplayed!!! Kings was the most captivating tv I have seen in years. I do not think it would matter what day or time slot you put it in…we live in a world where DVR’s are as common as toasters. WE WILL WATCH…..

  6. Belinda Pressley says

    It was not promoted enough before or during its showing. Most new shows one sees during every tv break, this one was barely seen. I just got hooked from one and kept up with when it was coming on. Shame on those responsible for the bad promotion of this Excellent, crebral TV series.

  7. Kimberly says

    I just can’t get over what little good shows their are anymore and this one had to be the one to get the axe!! What the hell is wrong with these networks. Who makes these choices? THIS IS LIKE THE ONLY SHOW THEY HAD ON THEIR NETWORK I WATCH! No longer watching their network til they bring it back! EVERY CHARACTER was soooo STRONG! Finally u get a good show and perfect cast and then some dill weed has to ruin it for us, I’m so tired of liking shows on tv and then they get cancelled, seriously GET A CLUE GUYS!



  8. Sharon says

    I feel like the other people that responded to Kings being canceled. This was a wonderful show, it held my interest, it was very intriguing. You need to bring this show back for the mature audiences that appreciate some thought being given to a story line. Please give us back some intelligent television. I really, really liked this show!!!

  9. Derek says

    Everyone involved in this show should be proud of their work.

    I, like many others, discovered this show online and was instantly hooked. I watched the entire season over the course of the last week and was disappointed to hear there are no plans for season 2. I’m not sure what is going on over at NBC but they seem to be unable to get out of their own way. I hold out hope that with Leno vacating 10pm ET there will be a slot for Kings…then again it might be more cost-effective for NBC to set up a webcam pointed at a fish tank.

  10. Matt Vielbaum says

    I just watched the whole season on HULU and it was great. I wanted to watch it during the season but the time it was on in the evening I had other engagements. I Loved every minute of the show and wish some one will pick it up and continue. I do not know what is wrong with this country, but Good drama seems to be failing just after a season or two. Why is that? I have fallen in love with a few good shows over the last year to find that they have been canceled because of lack of viewers. And the shows that do survive aren’t worth watching.

  11. kim darder says

    me and my family have been waiting for kings all year so i looked it up and i will have to break the news it is not coming back!! my god it was the best tv show ever!! we all loved it and look foward to it every week!
    i do not uderstand how all the reality shows can make it but good old tv stories die out. what is coming of our people!

  12. Gappsy says

    I recieved the first season of kings (never hearing of it previous only givin to me by a friend who is also hooked) only 3 days ago and i have finished it already, which was no easy feat i work 14hrs a day. i got that into it i even snuck in an episode whilst at work. on trying to find out when season 2 was to start i was extremely disapointed in reading that NBC had canceled the show i mean the only TV series i enjoy more then that is HEROES. there seems to be alot of support for the show and considering the story line it seems to grab people from every direction and suck them in religeous or not, the story line was really starting to get good, NBC seeem to have givin us little time to build up an appropriate fan base as most TV series these days seem to have about 20 episodes in the first season to give viewers a chance to really get to know the characters and fall in love with them. i say they should at the least give them another season i reakon NBC will get a suprise and from what i read NBC move it to a time slot over there in America that doesn’t get a very wide variety of viewers. i say get rid of reality TV crap, the only reason that crap gets high ratings is cause the idiots that are watchin it are to stupid to follow a decent story line and we all know there are alot of idiots out there and unfortunatly most of them are the ones without jobs and are able to spend more time watching TV uping the ratings of these mindless shows.leaving only one thing left to say BRING BACK KINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Dennison says

    My wife and I found Kings to be the best TV moment of the week. I believe one of the reasons it found a small audience is that Americans know little or nothing of the history of any other nation. The Kings storyline followed much of the Biblical account of King Saul and King David and the history of the nation of Israel placed in a 21st century context. We have no interest at all in the mindless programs whose plots rival the weather report and have no educational or intelligent content. Shame on NBC for catering solely to the mindless minions.

  14. Lyndie says

    I don’t think the network did a good job of promoting this series, as it only came on my radar from surfing the iTunes store. Once discovered, I was instantly addicted. Finally, a smart, interesting show that competed with series like Dexter, True Blood, Weeds, etc. This series was one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. I found it to be visually beautiful, interesting and extremely entertaining. The cast was remarkably talented, consistantly delivering outstanding performances. I am so disappointed to discover that this series has been cancelled. I was truly left on the edge of my seat and couldn’t wait for season two. Hopefully the network will reconsider and give it another chance.

  15. Troy says

    How is Kings off the air but shows like Merlin are still playing. Kings was turning into a show that reviled other big shows like Lost on other networks. NBC along with many other large networks have no idea about whats good and whats not. I’m sick of being force feed reality TV constantly, its boring and i don’t care who’s the biggest loser is or who wants to marry a millionaire. Oh well I guess, chalk this one up to other great shows like Arrested Development…..

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