Why Netflix Canceled Gypsy So Quickly

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Sorry, Gypsy fans: the psycho-drama following a bored, voyeuristic therapist will not return for a second season, Netflix confirmed to Vanity Fair on Friday. The speed of this series’s cancellation—the announcement comes just six weeks after its premiere—is difficult to ignore; it’s the quickest Netflix has ever canceled one of its original scripted dramas. The streaming giant has not yet provided a reason for the cancellation, but given Netflix’s recently adjusted programming outlook, it’s easy enough to venture a safe guess as to why Gypsy got the boot so soon.

As Netflix founder and C.E.O. Reed Hastings explained in May, Netflix is actually aiming to cancel more shows. As Hastings saw it, the company’s “hit ratio” was too high: “We’ve canceled very few shows,” Hastings told CNBC anchor Julia Boorstin. “I’m always pushing the content team: ‘We have to take more risk, you have to try more crazy things. Because we should have a higher cancel rate overall.’” That strategy has, so far, led to cancellations including The Get Down, Girlboss, and Sense8—the latter of which had a deeply devoted fan base that mourned its loss and petitioned for its return, earning the series one more TV movie to wrap things up.

How does Netflix decide what to ax, given its freedom from the demands of typical TV networks? Hastings said that the company weighs “a mix” of factors, including viewership and subscriber growth. The company famously does not disclose its own viewership numbers, but critical reception for Gypsy was lukewarm at best, despite its lead actress’s capable performance. The show’s buzz came and went in a flash, and it seems that it never built the momentum Netflix was hoping for—and that it has found with other recent releases, such as G.L.O.W., which was just renewed for a second season. Thankfully, for those who want more Watts on their small screens, there’s still Showtime’s Twin Peaks, where she has staged a delightful turn as Janey-E, wife to Kyle MacLachlan’s Dougie Jones.

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