These are the stories that show how confusing the world of television can be.
WGN America has experienced great growth recently. After winning its most watch primetime month, Deadline reports that the network made a decision to axe the most watched series for WGN America: Outsiders.
Outsiders followed the drama in the fictional town of Blackburg, Kentucky. The series put audiences deep in Appalachian culture, telling the story of the Farrell family and their pursuit of power. The series premiered in 2016 and was created by Peter Mattei.
The exact reason for this cancellation is complicated, especially considering the favorable numbers Outsiders drew to the network. Previously, the series was a good performer in Live+Same Day, earning around 2 million total viewers, with 874,000 of those viewers hitting the sweet spot of adults aged 25-54. The 9pm showing of Outsiders averaging more than 1.3 million viewers, and a 305% increase over WGN’s previous time period average in viewers, most particularly in that 25-54 age bracket.
There has also been some rumblings that say WGNA’s parent, Tribune Media, has experienced some changes that affected Outsiders‘ cancellation. Peter Liguori, Tribune’s President and CEO, left the company last month, leaving WGNA one less person who supported WGNA creating premium original scripted shows. Peter Kern has been named interim President and CEO in his stead, and issued this statement:
“After three years of investing in marquee, brand-defining dramas, WGN America has successfully expanded its audience, its reach, and its presence in the minds of viewers. In our next phase, we intend to expand our original and unique content to continue growing our relevance and appeal to the widest possible audience. To achieve this, we will be reallocating our resources to a more diverse programming strategy and to new structures, enabling us to expand both the quantity and breadth of content aired by WGN America. This move is designed to deliver even more value to our advertising and distribution partners. To free up the resources to reach this goal, we will unfortunately not be renewing Outsiders. We are grateful to our production partners at Sony Pictures Television and the terrifically talented people who made the show possible.”
Outsiders’ season two finale (which will also double as the series finale) will air on April 25th.