Question: I recently read in TV Guide that the television show Now and Again is being canceled. Is this true and, if so, why? I don't know of anyone who didn't look forward to the next episode of this show. I think the reason everyone liked Now and Again was because it was "different." It seems like every other show on television is either some kind of police drama or hospital show. I know for a fact that TV Guide liked the show. If everyone likes the show and praises it, why do they cancel it? I will never understand this. I wish some executive could explain it to me. Maggie Machinena
Televisionary: There's bad news and worse news, Maggie. Not only did CBS indeed ax Now and Again, but fans will never find out what happened after the season-ending cliffhanger. (At least there are no plans for them to find out as far as I know.)
And you're right. Everyone who liked Now and Again did so because it was different, which is probably why it died. Of course, the network scheduled it into the Friday-night audience graveyard, pretty much ensuring it'd be tough for any potential fans to find it. But you can definitely make the case that if the majority of the TV-watching populace can't comfortably define a show or if they must take the time to get used to it, it'll never earn the kind of numbers major network executives want to see in the short term. Shows aren't given much time to sink or swim these days.
If it's any comfort, CBS head honcho Les Moonves said the decision to cancel the show was a very close call, but I suppose that's immaterial when the end result is that you can't watch it anymore. In a recent interview on Inside.com, screenwriter and Oscar winner Alan Ball (American Beauty), who saw his series Oh Grow Up dropped by ABC, vented on the topic. He's developing a show for HBO and praised the pay network's execs for not wanting "pap concocted to be the least offensive to everyone and unintrusive on the corporate propaganda it's sandwiched between." (To be fair, however, HBO doesn't have to worry about advertisers.) The networks, Ball continued, run on "the knee-jerk need to make everything like something that's been successful before."
Veteran writer/producer and TVwriter.com guru Larry Brody put it just as bluntly in his e-publication The TV Writer.Com Book of Television Writing when he recounted a producer's reaction to a script he turned in: "This script is bright, fresh and original. Unfortunately, what we in Hollywood are looking for is material that is dull, stale and trite done in a bright, fresh and original manner."
Thus, Now and Again is gone and Walker, Texas Ranger lives on.
Oh, and for the fan who wanted to know where she could find the Now and Again theme song, Janet Jackson's "Got 'Til It's Gone," featuring a sample of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi," is on Jackson's The Velvet Rope.