Why ‘FlashForward’ Was Cancelled

It was the year 2009. Lost was coming to an end and ABC was on the hunt for another mega-hit. And since they had found great success with a non-linear sci-fi series that was rooted in mystery, network execs wanted to fill the void with another high-concept offering. Enter FlashForward, a show they had high hopes for.

Based on the 1999 Robert J. Sawyer novel of the same name, FlashForward tells the story of a temporary global blackout that causes nearly everyone on Earth to get a glimpse of their futures. Thus begins an investigation to determine the cause of the blackout and whether or not it will happen again. Mystery ensues.

FlashForward certainly boasted an intriguing premise that engaged many viewers during its one-season run. Unfortunately, the viewership wasn’t high enough for ABC to greenlight the show for a second season. But it was a difficult journey from the beginning.

FlashForward was doomed from the start

FlashForward was picked up by ABC after HBO passed on the project. The series aired in over 100 countries worldwide and pulled in 12 million viewers for its premiere in the United States. That’s no small feat. By the time the final instalment rolled around, however, the audience had dropped to 5.5 million.

The show was also dogged with behind the scenes troubles. As 25 Years Later pointed out, showrunner Marc Guggenheim stepped down two weeks after ABC picked it up. His replacement, David Goyer, also didn’t last long because he wanted to focus on his film career.

On top of that, FlashForward went on a three-month hiatus mid-way through its first and only season, which only disrupted its momentum and caused some viewers to forget all about it. These factors certainly didn’t help the series’ chances of survival.

FlashForward was too expensive and edgy for the network

It is believed that FlashForward was cancelled for failing to replicate the success of Lost. That’s only partly true. According to Sawyer, the decision to pull the plug on the show was down to its time slot and budget.

The show’s violence, intensity, and presence of a lesbian character weren’t considered family-friendly enough for its 8 PM slot. As Sawyer noted, America just wasn’t ready for it. FlashForward was also expensive to produce, as was ABC’s V reboot. It was determined that they didn’t need two big-budget sci-fi shows, and FlashForward was deemed the most expendable of the pair. The rest is history.

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