Question: Why is it that networks rarely grab each others' shows after they are canceled? This year there were a few cases where this would have made a lot of sense. For example, a show like The Class had average ratings, but it was canned because CBS didn't have many hours available. Wouldn't it have made sense for ABC, which is starving for even a marginal comedy, to pick it up instead of renewing According to Jim or Notes from the Underbelly? Traveler and Masters of Science Fiction are other shows that I think have some cult following despite the lack of network support and might prove profitable elsewhere. Why do networks put their faith in ratings-challenged or untested shows rather than something that can obviously improve their present situation?
Answer: The reason this rarely happens is the same reason situations like Jericho's (being resurrected after cancellation) are so rare. When a show fails on one network, there usually isn't a clamor elsewhere to keep something alive that has the taint of rejection clinging to it. Not that The Class didn't deserve a second chance. It did. But that show never really popped, and it had every opportunity to do so, given the network and night it aired on, so what incentive would ABC or anyone else have to try to relaunch it? While I'm no fan of Jim or Underbelly and I lament ABC's comedy woes regularly, there's no reason to think something like The Class would "obviously" improve matters. Traveler and Masters of Science Fiction were summer burn-offs, plain and simple, the former being part of a trend of failed serialized thrillers last year and the latter being that most endangered of formats: the anthology series. The system we see each fall season of the networks revving up a brand-new schedule filled with premiering series does seem kind of crazy, but imagine the ridicule if the networks loaded up with castoffs from their rivals.