No matter how hard Netflix tries, it doesn’t seem to be able to make a weekly talk show stick. Their latest endeavours, The Break With Michelle Wolf and The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale, have been cancelled after just 1 season each.
This comes after another talk show, Chelsea, with Chelsea Handler, wrapped after two seasons in 2017, although it had a more successful run of 120 episodes over two seasons.
McHale and Wolf seemed like good bets, with McHale hosting the long-running show The Soup on E! and Wolf writing for The Late Night with Seth Myers and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, as well as hosting the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Netflix doesn’t release viewing figures for their originals, but it’s safe to say that the shows didn’t perform as well as the streaming giant was hoping. In an effort to bring in more viewers McHale’s show even changed format; from a weekly show to launching 6 episodes in a block.
The cancellation points to a bigger problem with Netflix’s content strategy. Their ambition to become a one-stop shop of content is apparent with their aggressive push into original content, but the one thing they’ve not been able to crack is how to make a successful weekly show. It’s not surprising they want their own talk show seeing how big an audience the established talk shows have.
Not having a talk show doesn’t seem to be hurting Netflix’s business with 130 million subscribers in Q2 of 2018, but if Netflix’s track record is anything to go by, the talk show format will continue to entice them until they find a host and format that will stick.