After two years on the air, Lifetime made the pretty surprising move today of canceling their drama “Witches of East End” starring Julia Ormond, Jenna Dewan Tatum, and others. If you want to look for an excuse / reason, the network will likely cite the ratings. The show did suffer big declines at times in season 2 versus the prior year, though there were also some timeslot differences. The first season aired a little later in the fall, when there are more potential viewers around. The second season aired in the summer.
One other thing that we’d be upset about as a viewer of the show is the fact that the declines in the 18-49 demographic were smaller than the ones in the total viewers, and the 13-episode order for season 2 suggested faith in the show. That may have been one of the reasons why the show was left on such a big cliffhanger.
We’re going to go back into “Longmire” mode here to discuss the similarities in cancellations here, which makes sense given that both are shows airing on A+E Networks channels. One of the biggest reasons that show was canceled by A&E was a lack of ownership, as it came from an outside studio. “Witches of East End” was in a similar position coming from Fox 21 rather than one within the parent company.
We’re pretty bummed about this one. While it was a possibility, we hate to see cable shows especially get canceled, especially ones without a proper end. It doesn’t make you want to check out further Lifetime series once this precedent is set, and they’ve got enough of a history with this (see “The Client List” and others) to make you nervous. Update: Take a look at a list of possible new homes for the show, though it is not clear if it will be even shopped around.
We’re going to have some more updates on this surprising news soon, so be on the lookout for that. For now, just share your reactions with a comment. You can also sign up to get some further TV updates on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo via Lifetime.)