‘Suburgatory’ Showrunner Reveals The Story Behind The Show’s Cancellation Bear Shout-Out


Last season, ABC’s comedy Suburgatory gave a huge shout out to the Cancellation Bear when the show’s main character Tessa launched a television series on her high school’s television station. It proved so unpopular that her principal cancelled it by handing her a very familiar looking “Cancellation Index” which prominently featured a picture of a bear.

Today, after the TCA Suburgatory panel, showrunner Emily Kapnek shared why she decided to make the Bear a very special guest star, how she feels about his latest predictions for Suburgatory and why the whole writing staff has tvbythenumbers bookmarked.

How did last season’s tvbythenumbers shout out happen? We loved it!

Obviously, it’s so much part of the culture and we just thought it would be really funny to have their school TV station governed by the same panic and hysteria that everyone feels watching their shows live and die and get discussed online so we thought it was just a really fun shout out because we’re all on your site all the time.

How do you feel about the Bear’s take on Suburgatory this season?

The Bear said he thinks we’re safe because of the Syndication Gods. I hope he’s right. This is a really crazy time for television in general. The ratings just – you have your eye on one number and then all of a sudden the landscape completely changes and all you can really do is hope for good retention on any given night and I think that sort of changed the way you look at ratings and look at the block as a whole and so for us, our premiere, getting to hold onto 88 percent of our lead-in, that’s a victory that we’re celebrating and ABC was happy with that and we’re just so happy to be in the mix.

Is it weird for you that ratings have gone from being something that were only followed in the TV industry to something the general public checks every morning like sports scores?

It’s just odd to me how much writers and showrunners and producers are suddenly, like, people know who you are. Like, why me? Even on these panels, the actors, I get it, but sometimes you’re like really? But everyone is involved. And not just my parents. My dad is always like, “Numbers look good!” or whatever it is. It has allowed everyone to kind of play a role and look after their shows and get involved on that level. So I guess it’s fun. It adds to the anxiety a little bit for sure.


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