Fans influence television productions with their wallets


The Bluth family stole our hearts when Arrested Development first premiered on Fox in 2003. But after just three hilarious seasons, the show was given the axe without as much as a proper goodbye. Since then, fans have been rallying to get their beloved show back. This might be their time.

On Oct. 2, the show's cast and creator Mitchell Hurwitz held an event titled "Arrested Development: A Bluth Family Reunion in New York City" as a part of The New Yorker Festival.

It was revealed to the audience, which included fans who paid $30 for the event, that there would be another season of the show, leading up to an eventual movie. Hurwitz has designed the show's final season on television to have only nine or 10 episodes, each episode being specifically centered around a certain character. They will all tie together and add interest to the characters for the movie.

While the creative aspect of the show and movie is well-assembled, there are still some issues that need to be worked out regarding the network and rights to the show. However, the cast and crew all seem to be positive about the outcome and hope for a 2013 release.

This, in the eyes of many, brings a bit of hope for other shows that were cancelled too soon. Arrested Development had a solid fan base and isn't the first series to be brought back after cancellation.

In 2002, Fox aired an out-of-this-century series by creator of Buffy, Joss Whedon. Firefly wasn't just out of the ordinary. It took place in a completely different time period and on a completely different planet. The show only aired 14 episodes before it was cancelled. But that didn't stop the fans from speaking out. They made phone calls, raised money, created websites and wrote letters until their voices were acknowledged. Finally, they were successful. In 2005, production began on a movie — Serenity — and the series was released on DVD, loaded with bonus features sure to appease every fan.

Even with animated television, fans have had an impact on whether a show lives or dies. The long-running show Family Guy, in its 11th season, is holding strong thanks to fans. The show, which was supposed to be cancelled back in 2006, received such high numbers in DVD sales that Fox brought it back. It's been going strong ever since.

Fans and viewers do have an impact on what is shown and what isn't show on television. It's admittedly true that ratings control what networks will keep on the air as opposed to what they cancel. But with the growing availability of shows through sources other than traditional television, monitoring viewers can prove to be difficult. This is where the fans are able to step in and have their voice be heard. The possibilities are endless. For Arrested Development fans, their dream came true. With passion and perseverance, the same can happen for many others and their favorite short-lived TV shows.

— Harper-Davis is a sophomore communications major from Washington D.C.