It’s been a few weeks since the cancellation of CBS’ Mike & Molly became public knowledge, and it came as a shock to many fans and critics alike. The comedy has enjoyed a reasonably successful run during its five-season tenure and the announcement of the cancellation following the incoming sixth season came as a huge surprise. Rumors have been flying about the reason behind this decision, and many have been false, but this week one of the writers stepped forward to set the record straight.
The announcement of the cancellation broke in mid-December, as reported by Cinema Blend, and sitcom writer Ken Levine, best known for his work on Cheers and Frasier, has spoken out about the decision. He believes that the reason for cancellation was a simple one, one that haunts any TV show: budget concerns.
“A big consideration is economics, especially in Mike & Molly‘s case. Everyone initially signs a six-year deal. The six years will be up this season. This is when having a movie star as your lead becomes not such a good thing. License fees (how much the network will pay for each episode) are usually determined in advance and then putting together your cast and production crew is like an NBA franchise building a team under the salary cap. Sometimes the costs are just too prohibitive.”
The fact that the future of Mike & Molly came down to nothing more than budget concerns is a shame, but in the world of situation comedy, this isn’t a huge surprise. In the cut-throat realm of television, finance determines fame and fortune, not to mention failure and fallout. Other factors could be to blame, and Levine noted in his blog that Melissa McCarthy’s rise to film stardom didn’t have much impact on their ratings. In fact, nothing much changed for the show while her star was on the rise.
With Mike & Molly not pulling in high ratings, McCarthy’s salary would have been a huge concern going forward for CBS. Paying a movie star salary for a show with unimpressive numbers would have been a huge risk for the network. Although Melissa McCarthy tweeted about the cancellation — see below — and gave the impression she wasn’t asking for major changes in a new contract, there’s no denying she, or CBS, would have at least entertained the idea of a pay increase.
— Melissa McCarthy (@melissamccarthy) December 14, 2015
— Mike & Molly (@mikeandmolly) December 25, 2015
Levine also confirmed that Mike & Molly isn’t actually owned by CBS. The show belongs to Warner Brothers, and CBS were set to gain nothing in the long term by investing much time and money into the series. It’s clear from the decision to cancel, and the worrying ratings, that CBS couldn’t justify continuing Mike & Molly for a seventh season.
This wouldn’t be the first time that other shows have taken priority over Mike & Molly, either. Over the past three years, CBS have bumped the sitcom from a fall première, and the sixth season’s original order of 22 episodes had previously been cut down to 13 prior to the announcement of the cancellation. The lack of a consistent time slot would definitely be a catalyst in the ratings fall, something that is seen as the beginning of the end for most TV shows.
However, Mike & Molly fans have 13 remaining episodes to look forward to when CBS airs the season 6 première on January 6, 2016. The first five seasons are available on DVD in the U.S now.
[Image via Warner Bros Television]