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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 }

Edwin November 1, 2006 at 4:21 pm

I can’t believe they cancelled the best new show of the season.
This show was different, interesting, and had a large number of young viewers among my co-workers which surprised me.

Complicated?
Well not everyone’s a frigging idiot like John Kerry!

Bring it back, CBS, and fire the dumb SOB that cancelled it!

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Debra Shuff November 1, 2006 at 10:21 am

What do you mean…it was getting too hard to follow? My 73 year old mother could follow it. The show was in a class all by itself…unlike others that look like “copycats”. The reasons used for it’s demise…are the exact reasons I loved the show. I may not have been able to sit thru the whole thing because of my early work schedule…but that is what DVR is for….and I couldn’t wait to watch it the next day. Bring it back!!!!

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Martin October 31, 2006 at 11:47 pm

Jeeeez-us x-rist! Like all of the aboce viewers, I was appaled that Smith was cancelled. I am a Sopranos / SIx Feet Under / The Shield fan and was really starting to enjoy the edgy, intelligent drama that Smith was. I have had the same feedback from friends who watched it (A++ post-grad educated, wealthy viewers…just the ones advertizers want!!!) – not I have to rely on House to keep me going until, which ain’t too bad.

The stupid cow responsible for cancelling Smith on CBS should be dumped with the cast of Jericho…forever. Loser.

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Gus October 31, 2006 at 7:29 pm

what moron cancelled this show ?

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Sunny Bowes October 31, 2006 at 5:17 pm

What a huge disappointment to discover that Smith has been discontinued! The first week we thought it had simply been preempted, the second week we went searching for it on another night……finally I checked the web and nearly cried to see that it had been cancelled. Shame on you CBS……..God, what, besides The Unit do you have for our enjoyment???

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Michaela October 30, 2006 at 10:38 pm

I thought I was going to be bothered by yet another crime drama and wasn’t looking forward to Smith but I knew that I’d have to give it a try because of my husband who couldn’t wait to see it. I knew the show would definitely have quality acting from the likes of Ray Liotta & Virginia Madsen that I hope for in any show but I intentionally resisted another crime drama of any sort. We already have 3-CSI’s, NCIS, Criminal Minds, Cold Case, Without a Trace, Numbers, (some of which I’d personally give up), not to mention the legal dramas! But I had no choice after we watched SMITH for the first time… “I” loved it! So did my husband! What a disappointment when it was cancelled! But we are finding that we are disappointed by many of the cancellations and even more so by the shows staying on the air! We obviously enjoy television when we’re home and when we’re not we schedule the shows we like to record. We use to have too many shows to keep up with. Now we’re asking one another what’s recorded when we want to relax and watch a good show because few are on television. We seem to be recording fewer these days, too.

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Brad October 30, 2006 at 6:31 pm

Smith was an intelligent, smart show that was well directed, acted and written. So I knew it wouldn’t last. I was surprised to see “Jericho” with its premise, but then as I follow that it is like “disaster lite”. It will probably last 7 seasons. It is already becoming inanely vanilla. Not to mention derivitive of… “Lost”? Anyone else see the parallels? A small, diverse population thrust into a disaster/survival situation cut off from society AT LARGE with an amorphous, threatening “them” starting to loom closer and closer. Heres where the bull starts for “Jericho”. For all this small Colorado town knows we are at WAR! But militia rule doesn’t seem to exist? And what small western population with a very possible and even probable invasion looming wouldn’t have ARMED every last able bodied person? Nearly everyone in that town would now be PACKING firearms 24/7.

Smith on the otherhand set up situations and was showing realistic consequences and reactions and actions. It was smart. Obviously too smart for prime-time.

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joyce October 30, 2006 at 6:11 pm

Dumb Dumb Dumb I can’t believe Smith is canceled My whole family really like the show Both married daughters and myself Several of my friends. Please reconsider Take off Jericho Don’t like it much at all.. I think if you cahnge the time It will get the reatings it deserved. Thank you

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Michael October 26, 2006 at 5:49 am

I’m so saddened by the cancellation otm “Smith.” The popcorn was pupped and buttered, the kids in bed and the dog crated as I got ready for episode 4. What??!! Oh, surely pre-empted for baseball playoffs of special programing. Well, perhaps switched to a different night where network execs figured to reach a better core audience. No. Dropped just when things were getting good it appears by some young idiot named Nina Tassler, who looks about as savvy and worldly as my 17-year-old daughter.

I’m so disappointed that we’ve turned over television programming and tastemaking to children who wouldn’t know real entertainment if it snuck up and bit them on the ass!! Shame.

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Chris October 25, 2006 at 12:23 pm

DUMB DUMB! I loved that show, it failed because it is on at 10pm at night… CBS made a big mistake.

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Rudy Brenalvirez October 25, 2006 at 7:59 am

What a disappointment to see Smith cut from the fall schedule! I’m a huge fan of both Madsen and Liotta and I didn’t find the plot too complex. It just seemed smarter than other fodder on “network” TV.

With the Stepfordization of Katie Couric for the CBS evening news, its easy to see that CBS prefers to appeal to the low brow.

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Carolyn Spears October 24, 2006 at 6:51 pm

CBS REALLY NEEDS TO LESSON TO THE VIEWERS ABOUT SMITH
SMITH IS A GREAT ENTERTAINMENT SHOW. IF CBS THINKS SMITH HAD BAD RATINGS. WELL MOVE JERICHO. PUT SMITH ON A EARLY LINEUP. JERICHO A LATE NIGHT SHOW. I WATCH ALITTLE ABOUT OF JERICHO. AND TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH THEY CAN ONLY TAKE JERICHO SO FAR. SINCE MOST OF THE POPULATIONS IS DEAD FROM RADICATION EXPOSER. GET REAL CBS.
BRING BRING BRING BRING BRING BRING BRING
SMITH SMITH SMITH SMITH SMITH SMITH SMITH
BACK! BACK! BACK! BACK! BACK! BACK! BACK!

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Darnell October 24, 2006 at 12:31 pm

CBS made a big mistke by cancelling Smith. I think the show was exciting. They should of consider moving it to a different time slot before taking it of the air. the program is much more interesting to me than Jericho and that is still on. I wish the network would reconsider

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Mary Anne Nericcio October 23, 2006 at 5:34 pm

CBS made a big mistake by removing Smith from the lineup. Simon Baker fans will not forget this. As usual, they underestimated the intelligence of the American Viewer. Duh. I was not confused one bit. In fact, it was becoming my favorite show.

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Naomi Christman October 23, 2006 at 3:00 pm

Do I have a URL?

If you have a list, please put near to the top a hilarious sitcom of quite some time ago “The Incredible Teddy Z” which was side-splittingly funny. It did not have any bon voyage. It was pushed to another week, another day and then disappeared. I searched for that show with the diligence I would use to find my lost dog. All for naught. Thank you for caring.

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