Fox’s critically lauded Pitch was cancelled after one season last week, leaving fans of the show without closure. In the Peak TV era, there’s always the hope that a canceled network drama will find a second life aboard an online streaming service, but with Pitch, that’s unlikely. Executive producer Kevin Falls joined Ben Lindbergh, Michael Baumann, and Baseball Prospectus writer Meg Rowley on the The Ringer MLB Show to explain why.
First, it’s worth noting why the show got canceled. Since it centered around baseball, it needed a robust American audience. But it didn’t get one.
"Fox wanted to find ways to bring it back," Falls said on the podcast. "Unfortunately with our show, because it was so specific in that it had to do with baseball, it was difficult to sell overseas. And that’s where [Fox] can recoup a lot of their money back if a show isn’t necessarily doing well in the ratings, because they have foreign sales which make it OK to bring a show back. That’s why a lot of procedurals do well, because they syndicate abroad. So Pitch didn’t have that. It had tremendous goodwill on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, but they couldn’t have it make business sense."
You can watch Pitch online, but Fox’s video-on-demand strategy failed to save the show.
"I know that [Fox] tried. They tried video on demand," Falls said. "Fox was looking for other ways to do this. Whether it was video on demand or going to Hulu, going to these other places."
But selling a show to Amazon, Hulu, or Netflix isn’t always an option, and it gets harder each year as those services build their own content.
"To take on somebody else’s show that wasn’t a creative failure but didn’t get an audience, it’s hard for [a streaming service] to say, ‘OK, I’m going to sideline the development I’ve been working on for maybe a year or a couple years so we can bring in somebody else’s show that has a marginal success status,’" Falls said.
Is there some other opportunity for closure, though? Falls is tight-lipped.
"These conversations will continue. I’m not optimistic," he said. "There’s some other ideas for closure that we’re going to discuss. [Cocreator] Dan [Fogelman] is directing his movie that he wrote. He’s in Spain, so all we’ve been able to do is really text. But there’s things we’re going to talk about when he returns in a couple weeks. So it’ll be ongoing. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that most the time it’s not a happy ending. But this feels different because there’s so much goodwill toward the show, so who knows?"
Listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.