Do not be afraid of defeat. You are never so near to victory as when defeated in a good cause. (Henry Ward Beecher)
Yesterday was a crazy day to be a TV journalist, as networks began announcing their annual renewals and cancellations. I’ve never seen so many shows get picked up and knocked off in one day. One headline I saw on Yahoo! News even joked, “NBC Cancels Everything,” which wasn’t that far off. I went to take a nap for an hour yesterday afternoon and woke up to another half-dozen news alerts.
This time of year is always one of the most difficult for me, because I’m dealing with two opposite extremes of feeling simultaneously, both upset about the loss of some shows and excited about the arrival or return of others. While everyone else is rushing to update their articles with the latest information, I always find myself stopping and reflecting on the highs and lows of the TV business, and in particular, my part of it.
The good news first: I’m delighted to report that my friend Michael Trucco‘s pilot, Killer Women, was ordered to series by ABC. Michael is a fantastic actor and an even better human being, and I love that we’re getting him right back on TV following the demise of Fairly Legal. I’m also enthused that James Wolk‘s new series, The Crazy Ones, got a pickup at CBS. I’m really curious to see James in a comedy rather than a drama, and excited that I’ll hopefully get to work with him again on coverage of it. Between those two shows I’m expecting wonderful things.
But there’s also bad news: TNT let go of two series I was passionate about, Monday Mornings and Southland. ABC also declined to order a fourth season of Body of Proof, which means Mark Valley is off my small screen for at least the next five minutes. And USA has announced this upcoming season of Burn Notice will be the last.
Since I became an entertainment reporter more than five years ago, I look at cancellations a lot differently than anyone else. It’s not just about losing a good TV program, but it’s also about losing a small chapter of my life – because every series provides me experiences that end when the show does. Monday Mornings afforded me the ability to not only interview but finally get to meet Jamie Bamber. Likewise, Mark joining Body of Proof meant that I had the chance to speak with him again, after not having seen him for at least a year. With the end of those shows, those opportunities also disappear, at least until the next project – whenever that will be and if I’m lucky enough to be a part of it.
One of the really great things about TV as opposed to movies is that a TV show can go on for years, and if it does that affords me the blessing of being able to form relationships with people. I’ve known Coby Bell since he first started with Burn Notice in season four and he’s since become one of my best friends. The cast of Nikita all recognized me at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con since I’ve been doing press with them since the middle of season one. When someone I admire lands a series, I smile because I know that means I have a reason to write about them, and I ought to be able to interact with them, too. So every time a show gets renewed, I’m relieved because that means another year I get to spend with the actors, crew and support staff. (See: the cast of Leverage, whom I interviewed multiple times over that show’s five-season run.)
Yet as they say, all good things come to an end, and every show is its own unique story in my history. Although I was so thrilled to reconnect with Mark for Body of Proof, it wasn’t the same as the two years I spent with Human Target. I’m sure Killer Women won’t be nearly as funny as my Fairly Legal experience. It’s always worth taking a moment to appreciate every journey as it ends, for everything it’s given me, while at the same time being ready to commit to whatever comes next. The career will always go on, but the memories, the friendships and the lessons learned, well…those are forever and more priceless than anything.