Farewell to the Chief

If a female TV president falls, does anybody hear? Commander in Chief, one of the breakout new dramas at the beginning of the year, is airing its last episode tonight, with viewership dropping faster than George W. Bush’s approval rating.

In today’s Globe and Mail, TV columnist Andrew Ryan suggests that America (and I suppose Canada) “was simply not ready for Commander in Chief – and it may never be ready for a lady president.” It’s a rather harsh assessment for a show that was killed off for far more mundane reasons.

I watched President Geena Davis when she made her debut in the White House and followed along quite happily until one day it wasn’t on anymore. Months passed before its return and by then I was watching other shows and had lost track of the various storylines.

Much like Invasion, the programmers at ABC took a promising show, let it build an audience, and then took it off the air to run a mid-season replacement. When it came back on air it was on a different night, where it has languished on its way to cancellation. Ryan says the show’s fate was sealed by the schedule changes, but blames it on viewers not being able to accept a woman in the White House. If that were the case, would millions have tuned in at the beginning of the season, or Davis been rewarded with a Golden Globe. It’s much more likely that her re-election was doomed by network bungling.

It’s been a particularly bad year for scheduling decisions, and it’s what killed off Invasion as well. I thought that Prison Break was doomed by the lengthy hiatus that Fox put it on, but thankfully viewers returned to the show and the boys made it over the wall. While two worthy shows have fallen under the wheels, I hope that the programmers have learnt that they can’t take viewers for granted.


  1. Hmmm... wasn't the president in Battlestar Galactica a woman as well... and look at how well that's doing. I agree, the other factors you mentioned are the most likely causes of CIC's decline.

    As for Prison Break... well, Fox cultivated that one well.

  2. A one year term...that's not good.

    --RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

  3. But look what happened in the future with a woman as president. Oh no! Maybe it's good Davis is gone