Still 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.