NEW YORK: As Arrested Development, a sitcom with a small but ardent fan base, appears to be near cancellation, industry watchers contemplate whether media fragmentation will help the show live elsewhere.
Fox announced it was cutting back its order of 22 episodes to 13, a move that is often a death-knell for a show.
A Fox spokesperson declined to comment on its promotional efforts, which have included a petition on the website getarrested.com. The petition was meant to gauge interest in the show, which has perpetually received poor ratings, despite critical acclaim and 12 Emmys in two years.
More than 111,000 people have signed since April, and petitioners were urged to "join the grassroots efforts to ensure 'Arrested' stays in our lives." Despite the effort, ratings were poor again this season, prompting the episode cut.
Steve Safran, managing editor of LostRemote.com, posted a number of options for the show on his website, including streaming the show online, turning it into a video podcast, or finding a title sponsor for each episode.
"They have a gorgeous demographic of the young and hip, the show is smart and funny, and you have to pay close attention to the plot," Safran told PRWeek.
If Arrested Development gets canceled and reborn elsewhere, it could signify how new technologies have given consumers more control over content.
"Arrested is just like Family Guy," said Safran, citing another show killed by Fox, but that later gained new life through DVD sales. "It has a devoted, smart audience that tries to keep it going. If there's a fan base, you [do not] need a network to reach it."