Treadstone and The Purge Series Canceled

The upcoming season of television is going to be a dreary one for audiences expecting anything more than reality TV and animated programming. Not only has the spread of the coronavirus pandemic halted production on nearly all TV shows, but returning shows are going to struggle getting back to work. Since this uncertain environment has networks and cable channels tightening their belts, we’re starting to see a lot more shows get canceled, and USA has just axed two of their high profile titles: The Purge and Treadstone.

Deadline has word on USA network having the Jason Bourne spin-off series Treadstone and The Purge canceled. Both were shows inspired by Universal film franchises, and both became too expensive for the kind of ratings they were bringing in. So The Purge is coming to an end after two seasons, and Treadstone has been taken out after just one season.

The Purge, an adaptation of the film franchise about a future society where crime is made legal for one night each year, started out strong with audiences when the first season debuted in the fall of 2018. But the second season saw a sharp decline in viewers, bringing in 50% less of an audience than the first season. Despite the fact that The Purge was part of a Universal streaming deal with Amazon Prime, that didn’t help enough to keep the show safe from cancellation.

As for Treadstone, which followed the origin story of the titular CIA black ops program that spawned the character Jason Bourne, the show started with decent numbers around 647,000. But even though the series was doing very well with delayed viewing numbers, the first season finale only pulled in around 371,000, which is a steep drop, especially for a high profile show with ties to a major film franchise.

Overall, networks and cable channels are starting to veer away from more expensive narrative programming unless it’s something that can be considered an event series or even a limited series. Unscripted and live programming has started to take the spotlight, mostly because it’s much cheaper to make, and we’re likely to see even more of an increase in that type of programming now that the coronavirus pandemic is causing Hollywood to hemorrhage money. Don’t be surprised if you start hearing about even more shows getting canceled in the coming months.

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