This Time, A Quest For Closure Is Answered

Closure.  Many of us want it.  Sometimes we want it as much, or perhaps more, than an opening.  Being denied it can trugger emotional reactions that elicit degrees of passion rarely evoked by other passages of time or life.  In my case, I have cried literally for years almost nightly in the pious hope that one particularly painful event in my life would have it.  In some others I am aware of, sometimes people might be willing to break several laws in their own unresolved quest. I dare say I’m a lot more aware of the importance of closure than I was at one time.

If one takes the impassioned social media postings of Shemar Moore regarding the surprising and apparently abrupt decision on CBS’ part to cancel the show’s the has starred in, S.W.A.T., at face value, it was that denial of closure–wrapping up the story arcs, character development and plot lines established over the series’ first six seasons, that motivated him to take what he saw was a calculated risk in calling CBS out on their decision.  Moore cited both the show’s performance and claims of superior diversity versus many other CBS shows as the fuel for his fire, which stirred the emotions of the show (and his) passion base this weekend.

Which is why yesterday afternoon’s announcement that CBS was reversing its decision and will indeed pick up S.W.A.T. for a seventh and concluding season was a rare bit of good news in a landscape dotted with frustration and ever-deepening fissures in the WGA strike, a battle that is picking up increasing support and steam from sister unions.  In the midst of all of that, this was what THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER’s Rick Porter was able to trumpet:

Three days after announcing SWAT would end with its sixth season, which wraps on May 19, the network on Monday picked up a final  season. The series, a co-production between Sony Pictures TV and CBS Studios, will now get a seventh and final season on CBS. It will run for 13 episodes.  The cancellation on Friday stirred outcry among the show’s viewers and star Shemar Moore, who called the move “a fucking mistake” in an Instagram video over the weekend.

Co-creator Shawn Ryan took a deserved victory lap via Twitter by evoking the memory of a prematurely reported demise from 75 years from the Chicago Tribune, essentially putting S.W.A.T. in the same category with Harry Truman, another good performer who deserved a pickup.

Well those are sweet sentiments, and the resulting pickup couldn’t bave happened to better people.  Except the announcement that CBS quickly followed up with shortly after S.W.A.T.’s pickup was announced revealed a more plausible reason besides grassroots protest that helped to sway Reisenbach, let alone strengthen Pope’s argument on behalf of them, per DEADLINE’s Nellie Andreeva:

CBS has canceled cop drama East New York, starring Amanda Warren, after one season.

The decision comes after CBS today reversed its Friday decision to cancel S.W.A.T., renewing the veteran drama for a 13-episode seventh and final season,

It also follows lengthy renewal negotiations between the network and East New York‘s lead studio, Warner Bros. Television. In addition to the inevitable squabbles over budget, there was an additional business issue that complicated talks. As Deadline reported, it had to do with additional streaming rights CBS had requested that go beyond the now-standard stacking, which allows networks to stream current season of their series on their digital platforms.

And, yes, on top of that, earlier Monday preliminary national ratings for a heavily promoted episode of EAST NEW YORK came out, with nary a statisical blip.  Indeed, if one looks at the show’s season trajectory, while the show started out as a decent performer, post-Super Bowl there was a precipitous decline in adult 18-49 audience, and never truly showed any signs of recovery since February:

Air date Episode 18-49 Demo Viewers Viewers
Demo change (millions) change
Sun 10/02/2022 01-01 0.46 5.271
Sun 10/09/2022 01-02 0.40 -13.04% 5.645 7.10%
Sun 10/16/2022 01-03 0.56 40.00% 5.440 -3.63%
Sun 10/23/2022 01-04 0.37 -33.93% 5.291 -2.74%
Sun 10/30/2022 01-05 0.49 32.43% 5.838 10.34%
Sun 11/06/2022 01-06 0.40 -18.37% 4.929 -15.57%
Sun 11/13/2022 01-07 0.34 -15.00% 4.696 -4.73%
Sun 11/20/2022 01-08 0.43 26.47% 4.966 5.75%
Sun 11/27/2022 01-09 0.38 -11.63% 4.986 0.40%
Sun 01/08/2023 01-10 0.52 36.84% 5.678 13.88%
Sun 01/15/2023 01-11 0.41 -21.15% 5.273 -7.13%
Sun 02/19/2023 01-12 0.26 -36.59% 4.241 -19.57%
Sun 02/26/2023 01-13 0.38 46.15% 4.657 9.81%
Sun 03/05/2023 01-14 0.35 -7.89% 4.722 1.40%
Sun 03/12/2023 01-15 0.30 -14.29% 4.165 -11.80%
Sun 03/19/2023 01-16 0.36 20.00% 4.745 13.93%
Sun 03/26/2023 01-17 0.41 13.89% 5.114 7.78%
Sun 04/16/2023 01-18 0.28 -31.71% 4.774 -6.65%
Sun 04/23/2023 01-19 0.28 0.00% 4.853 1.65%
Sun 05/07/2023 * 01-20 0.30 7.14% 4.860 0.14%
Throw in the futility of expecting Warner Brothers to cave on a show that has yet to produce appreciable results for them and clearly would have a long road to hoe before it became as exploitable in aftermarkets to them or to CBS as S.W.A.T. already is, and for a company like Paramount Global facing similar top-down economic pressure it made S.W.A.T. a far safer bet.  Ultimately, the same kind of scrappiness that Sony has demonstrated for many other shows besides S.W.A.T., under several of Pope’s predecessors dating back to Steve Mosko, appealed more to Reisenbach and her management.  And that 0.30 sure helped tip the scales.
But perhaps it’s OK for S.W.A.T.’s fans to believe that it was their consternation, tweets and posts that drove their desired results.  They got the closure they wanted, and for that I’m particularly both happy for them and envious that they got their wishes while mine and others’ continue to disrupt my peace and others’ I care about.  They will be able to more proactively demonstrate their happiness by watching the show when it returns, giving some actual justification to Pope and Reisenbach’s enthusiastic statement. Whenever that is.  There’s still that small little issue of a few strikes that will likely now dominate the news cycle even more now that this matter is resolved.
Now there’s a closure I think we’d all like to see.
Until next time…

 

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