Netflix has axed a pair of recently debuted comedy shows, canceling The Break with Michelle Wolf and The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale. Both series started up earlier this year as part of the streamer’s push to add more talk show format comedy fare.
McHale’s show was described as a “spiritual successor” to his satiric clip show The Soup, which he hosted for 11 years on E! before making the leap to Netflix. Wolf meanwhile launched her Netflix show after a successful run as a correspondent on The Daily Show. Wolf’s Netflix endeavor received an extra publicity push after the comedian’s buzz-worthy appearance hosting this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Sadly, all the buzz in the world couldn’t earn Michelle Wolf’s The Break a second season, as Netflix has decided to cancel that show as well as The Joel McHale Show (via Deadline). The Break ran for ten episodes, released once a week, after debuting in May. McHale’s show first dropped in February with a 13-episode season, also released on a week-by-week basis, then came back for six additional episodes which were all released at once. Sources told Deadline that both shows were axed due to lack of viewership.
Interestingly, the schedules for both canceled shows initially went against the grain of Netflix’s normal policy of releasing all episodes of a series at once. This was done obviously so the shows could keep up to date with news occurrences and allow for fresh, timely content. However, Netflix did ultimately tweak the release plan for McHale’s show, an indication that perhaps they were not satisfied with how the week-by-week approach was working out. The inability for viewers to binge each show from the get-go perhaps was a factor in their failure to catch on with audiences. Netflix viewers have grown used to being able to zoom through all the episodes of a series as soon as they’re released, and may not be as eager to stick with a show that makes them wait for their next fix.
Though Netflix has elected to cancel two of its higher profile recent offerings, the streaming giant remains heavily invested in the talk show business. They currently have a pair of successful chat shows from veteran comics in Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and David Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. Later this year, the streamer will debut The Patriot Act with former Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj, as well as a new talk show from SNL alum Norm Macdonald.