Netflix has canceled The Break with Michelle Wolf, and The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale.
Both “late night” style talk/sketch shows barely got a chance to generate a following before the streaming giant pulled the plug on their shows. The Break just premiered a few months ago and only got to run eleven episodes before Netflix called it quits, seemingly making Wolf’s first sketch “Strong Female Lead” making fun of tv’s inability to see women outside of a certain box pretty prescient. McHale’s show only had a few extra months and 19 episodes to its credit before being yanked.
McHale’s show wasn’t exactly our speed, so can’t say too much about whether it deserved to survive or fail. But it felt like Wolf should have succeeded- the show was strong, and her controversial set at the White House Correspondents Dinner should have ensured people were paying attention. The move was also surprisingbecausee Netflix seemed so committed to the genre- for a while it felt like they were greenlighting a new “talk show” hosted by a comic every week.
The problem most likely has more to do with Netflix being a poor fit for the genre- or at the very least, the platform hasn’t figured out what a streaming service topical show needs to look like to succeed. Netflix’s first attempt to grab market share in this area with Chelsea didn’t go well, and it seems that should have been fair warning to the company that they had a genre problem more than a show problem. It doesn’t help that the market is pretty oversaturated with tons of great talent already doing justice to the format with Samantha Bee, John Oliver, and Jim Jefferies running weekly plus nine nightly shows plus SNL– that’s 13 shows covering current headlines, talk, and sketch.
This leaves a big uneasy question mark hanging over the heads of the list of other “late night” shows greenlit by Netflix. There’s some outstanding talent with talk shows in the works that will definitely be having conversations about how to break through the “topical problem.” Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj debuts in October, Jimmy Carr Katherine Ryan and D.L. Hughley will team up for The Fix, and Norm Macdonald has a show called Norm Macdonald Has a Show.
Meanwhile, Wolf seems to be doing okay. Her latest post on Instagram shows her on stage in Atlanta with an exclusive club of stand up superstars of which she is now a member.
Stay tuned for news on Trump’s overjoyed tweet.