Tonight, HBO is promoting what is currently being billed as the series finale for Crashing. For those who enjoy this show, no doubt that this is sad news. It’s also strange news when you consider the show’s recent performance.
In the wake of the series’ cancellation this week, we were curious and wanted to do a dive into the numbers. What we came up with is that so far, season 3 for the Pete Holmes-led comedy is actually outperforming season 2! It is bringing in overage around 370,000 live viewers for HBO weekly, an increase of just over 4% from season 2. Sure, you can cite a strong True Detective lead-in for much of the season as a primary reason why, but it still does not change that the numbers are what they are, and that the vast majority of shows out there fail to stay steady from one year to the next. Even with a good lead-in, people still have to stick around and watch. Anyone who thinks that Crashing season 3 has better ratings because people with Nielsen boxes forgot to turn their TVs off after True Detective is utterly out of their mind.
Do why would HBO end it with better ratings? Maybe they have different expectations for the future, new comedy avenues they want to explore, or maybe they expected even more when you consider the lead-in. Trying to get inside the head of programming heads is tricky business, especially since these are millionaires in suits and really, the only thing we have in common with them is a love of TV. (One of HBO’s top executives in Richard Plepler is departing the company, but it’s hard to trace this cancellation back to just that.)
Even though Crashing is, pun intended, crashing down, don’t think of the finale as necessarily the end of the road. As Holmes himself notes in a series of post-cancellation tweets, a season 4 in the form of a movie is at least possible — and there’s no real reason to rule that out. For starters, HBO has a tradition of wrap-up movies. Just look (another pun intended) at Looking, a comedy series that they gave another chapter to despite it posting lower numbers than Crashing did. They’re also doing a Deadwood movie but that is very obviously a different situation — a show that ended years ago that they’re reviving in part because they realized, Gob Bluth style, that they’ve made a huge mistake.
Another reason for optimism? The Judd Apatow connection. HBO remains firmly in the Apatow business and if there’s a good idea for a Crashing movie, we firmly believe that the parties can combine their powers and make it happen. It may not be immediate, but it’s something to for sure watch for as we move into the weeks and months ahead.
Enjoying the Crashing finale, don’t expect more, and cross those fingers in the back of your brain. At least you know the chance is there.
Would you like to see a Crashing season 4 exist in some form following today’s finale? Share below. (Photo: HBO.)