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Smith: NY Times Sheds More Light on Cancellation

Smith castStill mourning the loss of Smith, the Ray Liotta series? Well, an article in the New York Times sheds a bit more light on the reasons for the show’s cancellation.

As you may recall, Smith debuted to 11 million viewers and dropped to over 8 million for two successive episodes before being pulled from the airwaves. This would ordinarily be considered a modest hit but CBS’ schedule is doing so well that the Tiffany network can afford to be a bit picky.

The Times article reveals that the viewership numbers were only part of the reason for the cancellation. Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment, indicated that she feels the scripts were confusing. Nina said, “We have a unique vantage point at the network. I’ve seen cuts and read scripts for the next four to five episodes, so I could see where we’re headed creatively. And we weren’t 100 percent happy with what we were looking at. You have to have clarity in the story-telling,” Nina said. “Confusion kills. I think Smith was particularly challenged in that area.”

At least in part, the audience seemed to agree. Smith had an ongoing complex plot that some might find difficult to follow if they’d missed the pilot episode. Smith was holding onto a smaller and smaller percentage of its lead-in audience from The Unit. As well, fewer people were returning each week to see the next episode of Smith. The number of viewers also fell consistently from the first half hour to the second, which would seem to indicate that the show wasn’t holding their attention.

Still, support for Smith remains strong. If enough viewers keep pushing for it, there is always a chance that CBS could air the unseen episodes. There are currently plans for the network to post the unseen episodes on their website as well as synopses of the plans for the rest of the season.

If you’d like to read the NY Times article (which mentions this site), click here. TV Series Finale home page

 

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Ladd June 15, 2009 at 11:50 am

I’ll leave this e but I/we are at your mercy as far as what gets aired and what doesn’t. This won’t be the first time I’ve been lulled or is it ‘lured’ into a greaat show only to have it snatched out from under me. But, if it makes any difference at all: I really liked Smith. My intelligence level is above 6th grade which is what most programs are aimed at (6th grade level that is) so I guess I don’t count for anything ’cause I’m not stupid enought, right?!?!

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Edwin Pavitt October 22, 2007 at 9:05 am

I watched the series in England and thought it was very slick (compliment). In addition to the superb cast the concept was original; the plot-lines and sub-plot-lines intriguing; and the action top-notch. I was unaware the series had been discontinued and thinking I had missed the ending first time round watched most of the episodes a second time when they were repeated. I even looked to buy the DVD, and I would happily watch the series a third time if it included the ending.

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Vicki January 4, 2007 at 6:07 pm

SMITH was the only show I was looking forward to in the fall. I planned my week around SMITH and was absolutely stunned when it was cancelled. I could not believe it. It was so much better than so many other shows on CBS. I keep checking on line to see why this show was really cancelled? Is Ray Liota well? Please bring the show back or let us know exactly why that was cancelled.

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sue patterson December 5, 2006 at 4:53 pm

What are you people thinking? Dumping Mr. Smith & leaving us with Jericho? The only reason people watch that simple stuff is because all the good stuff has been cancelled!!! It was so nice watching something different…What a great plot!! It was so refreshing not seeing yet another freakin crime scene show or another lawyer show!!!

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Steve McCroskey November 15, 2006 at 10:26 pm

There is a reason why I do not enjoy watching network television anymore. It is the same reason that I do not like politics anymore. I refuse to be treated like a moron. Please be smart and buy as many cable networks as you can, so that you can make more money from people like me, that refuse to watch your drivel.
Sports, HBO, FX and entertaining/ informative programming such as Discovery, History and National Geographic Channels, as well as, PBS is where my time and money goes.
Every now and then an ad for a new Network Show will catch my attention. This was the case with Smith. Great cast, decent plot, well acted. I knew it could not last.
Thank You CBS for showing me that you are as much a part of the dumbing down of America as a George Bush Whitehouse and a Religious Fanatacism run amok.
I enjoy having less time to watch television as I now try to concentrate on having a life and buying less and less of your advertised products. I realize I am in the minority, but better that than be part of your flock of sheep.
It’s not that I am disillusioned, I just refuse to settle for crap.
Thank You.

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Anonymous November 13, 2006 at 6:18 pm

Very disappointed, I loved Smith!!
Please bring it back!

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Betty Wingfield November 12, 2006 at 11:03 am

Smith cancelled?! Why am I surprised? A “smart” show finally shows up, and is immediately cancelled…DUH! What’s next: Boston Legal, Shark?!!! I don’t want to watch tv anymore.

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B.Murphy November 11, 2006 at 6:54 pm

I’m terribly upset that my show was cancelled.One of the best show of the new fall season,was cancelled. What were you all thinking,please bring it back.The cast was amazing,the show was action-packed.Tuesday night at 9:00 o’clock,I almost back my neck getting to the television.Waiting to see Smith,if you all had any sense.You would bring it back,the best shows on CBS,CSI Miami,and the Sunday night shows.Then there was Smith,I really hope someone else pickup this outstanding show.Ray Liotta and the cast you did an amazing job………….Mad in Kentucky

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b sherrill November 11, 2006 at 2:43 pm

Dear CBS President of Entertainment: Tina Tassler,

Bull////!!!! The real reason CBS canceled Smith was
you are cheap!!! You knew if you had a really good hit you would have to pay these fine actors the money they knew their agents could get for them period! This was a show WITHOUT a perdicted script THAT is WHAT everyone LIKED about it. I spend money and I am not 15-24 years old I have a brain so what
the ///// are you guys thinking just cheap as that it. Well, eventually everyone will be watching FOX network anyway…have a few people at the top who know winning when they see it! Bring Smith back at a
different time be smart not cheap!

B. Sherrill

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Kristin Laborde November 6, 2006 at 6:46 pm

I am totally a CBS fan. I enjoyed watching the first few episoeds of SMITH and was confused when it did not come on. The show had a good plot and was action packed. It is definetly a much better than Jerico (which by the way needs better actors). If you were going to pull a show off the air it should have been Jerico, not Smith. I am diappointed! Just because your network in number one now does not mean it will remain. If you have a good show that initally got good ratings then you should give it a try. I thing it could be your next CSI. If anything you should move it to another night. I’ll watch it midnight on fridays, I dont care. It’s a cool show and I support it!

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Aileen November 1, 2006 at 9:24 pm

I was so mad at CBS for canceling Smith. It was the best show ever. I looked forward to it the next week and what do you know it was gone. All the rest of the shows cannot compare to this show. It was so good and now all we have is Jericho. God what an awful show. I watched two episodes and that was enough. Seems like if a show comes on I like they cancel but yet we have so many that are so boring. CSI and Criminal Minds.
The person responsible for dumping this show should be fired.

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