Executive Meddling is a term where any kind of media that is going through development, its original intention of writing is altered by executives that have control over the show, resulting them altering it as it would work better in their interest, and that also includes actions like cancellation of that development.
Why It Executes Lowly
- Even though the writers tend to already have something great intended, executives stick their nose in that development, and they tend to alter anything into something that would work better for them or turn them into something unrecognizable, which usually results in something growing completely underwhelming or not good to that development. Worst yet, it also leads to negative reception on the final product.
- There have been shows that got canceled and/or completely screwed over due to executive meddling.
- This move is evidence that most executives can be really scummy or plain bad, even as people in society.
- It always causes several shows to be retooled. Sometimes, retooling a show can be good as long you don't mess with what you are doing. But other times, this is often done horribly.
- It's usually used to expand profits.
- It can also get people to blame the writers of something rather than the executives, even for things that are entirely out of the writing team's control.
- Sometimes, things have turned out pretty lousy due to executive meddling.
- It can happen with shows that some like, but feel they are for much younger audiences or would appeal to absolutely nobody at all.
The Only Redeeming Quality
- Rarely, there are a few positive examples of executive meddling. Such as in "Mr. Garrison’s Fancy New Vagina", Trey and Matt originally had the surgery scene extended to 5 minutes, but Comedy Central forced them to shave it down to only a few shots. The breastfeeding joke being changed in the Pokémon episode, "The Kangaskhan Kid" is an understandable decision 4Kids made because of how different the United States views these jokes in kids' shows compared to Japan's views on what is/what is not appropriate.
Examples of Executive Meddling In TV
- Sonic SatAM: Cancelled because of executive meddling, not from Sega, but from ABC - a new president came in and declared that he was sweeping out the old and bringing in new stuff. That, coupled with the fact that the show's ratings were low, resulted in its cancellation.
- It was also likely canceled due to Disney's purchase of ABC, which led to other original shows like Bump in the Night being cancelled.
- The Simpsons and Family Guy: Despite their drops in quality, Fox won't let them end due to them being cash cows.
- The Fairly OddParents: Nickelodeon executives forced series creator Butch Hartman to add new characters like Poof, Sparky and Chloe Carmichael. While Poof got mixed-to-positive reviews, the latter two characters were not well received, which majorly contributed to the show's eventual cancellation.
- Danny Phantom: When writer Steve Marmel wanted to make the show darker and edgier in its third season, Nickelodeon fired him, leading to the show's quality declining in said season.
- Nickelodeon also canceled the show after three seasons, despite series creator Butch Hartman wanting to do more episodes.
- Moral Orel: Originally, the series was meant to have 5 seasons. However, after the Season 2 finale, Adult Swim changed it to 3 seasons. To make matters worse, Season 3 was going to have 20 episodes, but it was changed to 13.
- Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain: The show's entire existence was due to Warner Bros. executives wanting Pinky and the Brain to be part of a sitcom "more like The Simpsons" and also have them be adopted by Elmyra Duff.
- As a result, the idea was reportedly met with resistance from the producers of the series, with the opening theme even making references to the decision with the lyric: "Now Pinky and the Brain share a new domain. It's what the network wants, why bother to complain?". In the end, Brain says: "I deeply resent this!". After the first season (the show in general) was met with negative feedback from fans of Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, the spin-off/retool series was canceled afterward.
- Back at the Barnyard: Three seasons were ordered. Unfortunately, due to unknown reasons, the show's third season was canceled and the series ended in 2011.
- Bunk'd: The show will often jump the shark due to the fact that the writers constantly keep replacing old characters and bringing in new characters every season. The show was originally going to end after Season 3, but due to an increase in popularity, it was renewed for three more seasons. However Disney hardly did it to the other good shows that gives a great impact.
- It made even worse when Disney Channel kicked most of the original cast members off to introduce new characters which shows how expendable the cast is to Disney. Despite their drops in quality and ratings, Disney won't let them end due to them being cash cows.
- Because of these stupid changes most fans have completely turned away from the show because of these seasons.
- Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 2 was originally meant to have 26 episodes. Unfortunately, Nickelodeon slashed the episode amount in half and may have canceled the series.
- Young Justice: It was initially canceled after two seasons because of poor toy sales (the box-office bombing of the 2011 Green Lantern movie also played a major role in this). However, thanks in part to a strong fan campaign and high viewership ratings on Netflix, Warner Bros. Animation decided to revive the series, much to the joy of many.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): Season 5 was originally intended to be the final season of the series, as its arc concluded the main series' storyline in 2006.
- Batman: The Animated Series: Some of the more violent parts of the show were toned down to make them more kid-friendly.
- Adventure Time: Initially, Cartoon Network wouldn't allow Princess Bubblegum and Marceline's relationship to be shown on-screen because the show airs in countries where homosexuality is illegal, such as Russia. However, they ended up kissing in the series finale, which other countries would simply edit out.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: There was going to be a subplot about Zuko's mom, Ursa, but it didn't come to fruition due to time constraints. The comics based on the show resolve the subplot, though.
- Beavis and Butt-Head: A little kid burned down his trailer home after allegedly watching the show, which caused MTV executives to force Mike Judge to tone down Beavis' pyromaniac tendencies, and add a disclaimer at the top of the show.
- Courage The Cowardly Dog: The show got pulled from the airwaves for a little while because of the episode "The Mask", which had an implied lesbian couple in the form of Bunny and Kitty.
- Another reason the show was canceled was that Cartoon Network executives thought that a plush toy of a pink dog (Courage) wouldn't sell well to young boys.
- Pinky Malinky: The show was set to premiere in 2009 on Cartoon Network, but then pushed to 2011 before being picked up by Nickelodeon, then was pushed to 2016, then 2017, then 2018 on Netflix before finally premiering on January 1, 2019, on Netflix. It was then canceled after three seasons.
- Pee-Wee's Playhouse: The show was pulled from broadcasting in July 1991 when actor Paul Reubens was arrested after being caught masturbating in an adult movie theatre in Florida, causing all Pee-Wee Herman merchandise to be pulled from stores (like Toys 'R' Us).
- Also, all Pee-Wee Herman cameos on other shows had to be removed (for example, he had a cameo in the celebrity version of the Sesame Street song, Put Down the Duckie. His scene was removed and replaced with Phil Donahue). Thankfully, the cameo of Paul Reubens is kept intact in later versions of the show, including Netflix and Hulu prints of the scene. The YouTube print also kept the scene intact, and it was also kept in later broadcasts for some time.
- Planet Sheen: only 26 episodes were made, all of which were stretched along 2½ years. Unfortunately, nothing has been heard from O Entertainment since this show was canceled in 2013.
- The Real Ghostbusters: Many unnecessary changes were made by a consultant firm known as Q5, who was hired by ABC. Some of these changes included replacing Lorenzo Music with Dave Coulier as Peter Venkman, recasting Laura Summer with Kath Soucie as Janine Melnitz, and recasting Arsenio Hall with Buster Jones as Winston Zeddemore. The biggest changes were making Slimer the focus of the show and toning down the dark elements, making it more kid-friendly. Most of these changes were made without any sort of audience testing by Q5. Many of these changes resulted in the rating dropping, and drove story editor Joe Straczynski to leave the show, though he continued to write episodes for the show such as "The Halloween Door".
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: TV Tokyo rejected the original scripts to episodes 25 and 26 because of how graphic they were. This resulted in budget cuts and the show having one of the most bizarre series finales of all time. The rejected scripts became The End of Evangelion, the uncut ending to the series.
- The Ren & Stimpy Show: According to John Kricfalusi in his words: "For every idea Nick accepted, they threw out five others", because Nickelodeon ridiculously censored some scenes like the Dog Catcher shaking his butt in front of Ren and Stimpy in the Big House Blues pilot, because they seemed the scene to be "too gay", and Stimpy's Invention almost didn't get made because of the nervousness of the executives.
- This worsened in the Games Animation era. According to Bob Camp and Bill Wray, executives were not even consistent about how they wanted the episodes to air and made Ren more and more meaningful as the series progressed, resulting in Ren being a huge jerk in this era in episodes like Ren's Brain.
- Power Rangers (Super) Megaforce: Originally, the show was going to be a full-on adaptation of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. Unfortunately, due to Tensou Sentai Goseiger not having enough bad toy sales to be skipped, Saban Brands (the owners of the Power Rangers franchise at the time) was forced by Toei Inc. (the creator of the Super Sentai franchise) to combine the two seasons which is the most nonsensical choice ever made by Toei! Because of this and Nickelodeon's 22-episode limit, many Sentai episodes and monster suits from Goseiger and Gokaiger were skipped because of that.
- Johnny Test (2005): It was originally supposed to end after three seasons, but a year later Cartoon Network demanded more episodes, beginning on September 10, 2009, in Canada (November 9, 2009 in the US), and lasted for three more seasons, consisting of 26 half-hour episodes instead of 13. It was even renewed for a seventh season in June 2013 that would consist of 13 half-hour episodes with a three-part special as the season (and possibly series) finale, but due to a lawsuit filed in Fall of 2013 it never saw the light of day, and the series was canceled on Christmas of 2014. Thankfully, the Netflix reboot is an improvement.
- The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss was turned into a preschool show and was moved to the Nick Jr. block, thanks to focusing group testing.
- 101 Dalmatian Street: Originally was gonna air in 2018, but was pushed to 2019 (although there were sneak peeks in December 2018). The series was announced to have a US streaming release on Disney+ but didn't have promotion whatsoever. It later aired on television on Disney XD on March 29, 2021, but had bad ratings because the show was already on Disney+, fewer people have the channel it aired on, and all of the episodes were previously released in other countries before the US. This includes Disney Channel UK, which ceased operations on September 30, 2020, due to a cable disagreement with Disney focusing more on streaming. Disney's poor treatment of the show resulted in it being canceled after only one season.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: Originally ended with The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, but executive want to continue with more seasons in favor of popularity.
- The Owl House: On October 9, 2021, Dana Terrace confirmed that the show was cancelled because Disney thought it didn't fit their brand. When the third and final season was announced, it was confirmed that it would have 3 44-minute specials.
- Final Space: On September 10, 2021, Olan Rogers revealed on a YouTube video that the series was cancelled after three seasons when he intended for the show to have 5 to 6 seasons, resulting in the show ending on a massively bleak cliffhanger. Olan elaborated that the cancellation happened because of the merger between Warnermedia and Discovery, which was spearheaded by Discovery executive David Zaslav.