Samantha Who? Canned

TV Arts


ABC has canceled the Christina Applegate starrer ”Samantha Who.”

Show, which had been expected to return, got caught up in this year’s
belt-tightening trend at the networks. According to an insider close
to the show, decision to scrap “Samantha” came down to numbers. The
show couldn’t slash it budget deep enough to make a third-season
pickup work, they said.

ABC had been mulling a plan to decrease “Samantha’s” budget by
changing the way the show is shot - moving to multiple cameras, rather
than the single camera now used. Alphabet was looking to slash as much
as $500,000 per episode from the show’s budget.

But “Samantha” became expendable once ABC picked up such a hefty
number of new series for next year - 10 in total. With that large a
crop of frosh series, it no longer made sense to bring “Samantha” back
or promote it. “Samantha” was initially a strong performer for the
Alphabet on Monday nights, but faltered this season after moving to

“Samantha” comes from ABC Studios. Cecelia Ahern and Donald Todd
created the show; Todd and Peter Traugott are exec producers.
OK, written that way, it makes more sense than the way it was written
last week, when it looked like moving to multi-camera *would* save
$500,000 each week. I'm well aware that, for a variety of issues
(including lighting, number of days spent shooting each episode), it's
cheaper to go multi-camera. But $500,000 each episode seemed a little
much, unless the show is currently filmed incredibly inefficiently.

IMO, a demand for a $500K budget cut means that ABC network was never
seriously considering renewing SW.  The budget for a half-hour show
these days is (*very* roughly) between $1.2 and $1.7mil, with some
approaching $2mil depending on hit status and the cheapest shows
running around $1mil.  So, with a budget cut of $500K is typically be
anywhere from 25 to 40% of the show's total budget, I'm totally not
surprised that the studio balked.

  -- Rob