It’s so much harder to fund TV shows than it used to be and with that in mind we’re going to break down the Wynonna Earp situation in a much more granular way within this article, but so much of the current situation comes back to that. A good ten or fifteen years ago, it was easier to convince the average viewer to actually tune into a show when it was on the air — even if that meant dealing with commercials or having to carve time out of their already-busy lives.
In 2019, however, we’re in an era where streaming and On-Demand services (plus also DVR machines) reign supreme. There are so many viewers out there who are willing to “wait for Netflix,” or just find a way to get those extra fifteen minutes back by skipping commercials while watching at their own convenience. We understand why, given that most people want to be entertained on their own terms — it’s one of the reasons services like Netflix are so popular. Yet, there’s a trade-off to it when you remember how much live ratings still matter. The very thing that makes TV convenient also makes it so much more difficult for shows to have staying power.
Let’s get back to Wynonna Earp specifically, in the context of a detailed piece from The Hollywood Reporter that lays out the complicated financial situation for the show. In the old days, live ratings held a larger piece of the television pie; in this new era, however, shows are reliant on such things as international licensing, streaming rights, DVD sales, and a number of other factors. Shows are getting more expensive with viewer expectations surging through the roof; that money has to come from somewhere, and financial arrangements are becoming increasingly difficult and spread-out.
If the Wynonna Earp live ratings were stronger, would it have been able to avoid its current situation stuck in a holding pattern for season 4? Maybe, but playing the what-if game is a moot point. Where we are now is that IDW Entertainment (who produces the Syfy series) is stuck trying to find a way to profit from a show they know is beloved and one that, based on all indications, they want to make. We haven’t seen anything that suggests that they want Wynonna Earp to end. Yet, it’s also clear that there are miscues, including a lack of international licensing for season 3 — let alone the two additional seasons that were ordered.
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What happens now?
If Wynonna Earp wants to continue, it needs to hammer out international licensing and from our understanding, this is the easiest way to push a season 4 into production. Maybe a deal with Netflix is made, or maybe another streaming provider comes on board. This is the primary way to ensure that the show is funded and that IDW as a corporation actually makes money because at the end of the day TV is a business. Sometimes it’s difficult to see it that way amidst the great art that gets produced, but money still has to be made to keep everyone that makes the show employed.
We realize that we just used the word “easy” in conjunction with the last paragraph, but there’s nothing that it’s easy about international distribution — it’s a tough and rather-boring job to describe that puts numerous lawyers and accountants to work. The other options are just harder, including trying to find a way to distribute ownership or making some sort of deep financial cuts that could change the show from what we all love about it.
Do we think this all will be overcome?
We remain optimistic, largely due to the enthusiasm of the fans, cast, crew and the commitment that was already made. It’d be a difficult situation if those renewals never happened; in the situation that we’re seeing now, there’s a sense of responsibility to get a deal done. We certainly hope that it is, and that everyone within the #FightForWynonna movement looks now towards streaming platforms as one of the paths to the future. We do understand Netflix being a tough nut to crack these days — with their recent cancellations of One Day at a Time and Daredevil, they’ve become a little more merciless as of late and is not the go to destination anymore when it comes to saving shows.
If you missed it…
Be sure to visit the link here to vote for Wynonna Earp, which is an active part of our TV Madness tournament! Meanwhile, share your thoughts on this current situation regarding season 4 in the comments. (Photo: Syfy.)