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What factors could cause a television series to be cancelled?

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Quick Answer

The main reason a television program is cancelled is a lack of viewers. A show can be cancelled if it is simply unpopular, but it may also be cancelled if downloads and recordings outnumber live viewings.

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Full Answer

The most important demographic of television viewers are adults aged 18 to 49, because this demographic is most important to advertisers. Despite a decline in live TV viewing, television is still a hugely important aspect of the advertising business. Advertisers can't make money if people watch the programs online or use a DVR and fast-forward through the ads, so live viewers are an importance factor in a series' continuation.

Currently, television popularity is calculated according to Nielsen ratings. A show or series receives a rating expressed in points; the rating represents a percentage of the total population of a particular demographic. A rating of lower than 2 is a strong indication that the show is likely to be cancelled.

Networks can also generate revenue from licensing or retransmission fees earned when reruns of a show air on cable networks. A network is much more inclined to continue supporting a show that has a large, loyal viewer base and is likely to be rewatched after an initial airing.

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