I am beginning to think that topical formats do not work well on streaming services like Netflix, because they have pulled the plug on both The Break With Michelle Wolf and The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale after one season.
Honestly, Netflix can only blame themselves for this. Netflix is a streaming service that’s essentially designed to give us content that we can watch at anytime, and unfortunately, the formats for The Joel McHale Show and The Break did not lend themselves well to those pressures. The shelf life for both shows was a day or two, three tops, before the news and entertainment cycles rotate and put an expiration date on episodes for those programs.
Netflix may have been able to alleviate that to some degree by promoting and more quickly making available clips from those shows on YouTube, although earning advertising revenue on YouTube sort of goes against their business model.
Meanwhile, Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and David Letterman’s show seem to be doing well for the streaming network, in part because they are not as time sensitive (Letterman’s shows, for instance, are taped weeks or months in advance) and remain relevant beyond the news cycle.
It’s a huge blow where it concerns Wolf, as she was one of the few female representatives in the talk show space, and she had gained an immense amount of organic promotion through her stint as host of the Correspondent’s Dinner. I loved the show and watched it semi-regularly, but Sundays during the summer also may not have been the best time in which to launch a series with a talk-show format. I’d like to think, however, that Wolf will land on her feet soon because she is terrific and quickly established herself as one of the best in “late night.”
This fall, Netflix will try again with the weekly format with Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj, as well as Norm Macdonald Has a Show. My guess is that both — regardless of quality — will meet the same fate as Wolf, McHale and Chelsea Handler before them, not through any fault of their own, but simply because Netflix wasn’t built for the weekly format.
Header Image Source: Netflix