Flashback. Last year…

[Two Fox programming Execs are in a meeting]

Exec 1 (looking at schedule) : Hey, do you realise we haven’t cancelled a show in weeks?

Exec 2: That can’t be right. Let me see.

[Exec 2 looks at the schedule]

Exec 2: Crap, you’re right! How did that happen?

Exec 1: I don’t know, but shouldn’t we do something about it?

Exec 2 (scowling) : Of course! Have we commissioned any new shows recently? Maybe something we’ve only aired once or twice?

Exec 1: I don’t think so. It looks like there are mostly just Reality Shows left.

Exec 2: Well, we certainly can’t cancel one of those.

Exec 1 (shaking head) : No, no. Of course not.

Exec 2 (muttering) : What are we going to do?…

Exec 1: Maybe we could order a new show and then cancel it right away?

Exec 2: Maybe… but that might take too long. Are you sure there’s nothing else left?

[Exec 1 takes list and looks over it again]

Exec 1: It doesn’t look like it… Wait-a-minute. What’s this one?

Exec 2: What? What?

Exec 1: It looks like Tru Calling is still on the air.

Exec 2 (grabbing list) : That can’t be right. That would mean we’ve shown half of a season by now, maybe more.

Exec 1: It’s definitely still on. It looks like we did the usual shuffling around and pre-empting, but we never actually cancelled it.

Exec 2: Well, by all means, cancel it now.

Exec 1: Don’t you want to check the ratings first.

Exec 2 (laughing) : Yeah, right… Is it number one?

Exec 1: No.

Exec 2: I didn’t think so. Like I said, cancel it.

Flash forward. About a month ago…

[Another meeting. Same two Execs, plus a new one]

Exec 1: What about this new show, Point Pleasant?

Exec 2: How many episodes have we aired?

Exec 1: Eight.

Exec 2: Eight? And we haven’t cancelled it yet?

New Exec: What? After only eight episodes?

[Exec 2 glares at New Exec]

Exec 1 (whispering) : He’s new.

Exec 2: Ah…

Exec 1: We’ve moved it around a time or two, and pre-empted it several times… without warning, of course.

Exec 2 (smiling) : Of course.

Exec 1: But we haven’t cancelled it yet.

Exec 2: Well, you’d better get right to it then. We don’t want another Tru Calling incident, now do we?

Exec 1: No, definitely not.

New Exec: What about the episodes we’ve already paid for? Will we show them?

[Exec 2 stares in disbelief]

Exec 1 (laughing) : Of course not!

New Exec: I don’t understand. If we paid for them, and they’re ready to air…

Exec 2 (frowning) : Don’t we teach these kids anything?

Exec 1 (explaining to New Exec) : If a series isn’t immediately number one, it gets cancelled. Once it’s cancelled, it’s off the air. It’s that simple.

New Exec (confused) : But what about all these other shows?

Exec 1 and Exec 2 (together) : They’re Reality shows!

New Exec: Oh…

Exec 2: Look, can we get back to the business at hand please?

[New Exec nods silently]

Exec 2 (rubbing hands together) : So… what new Reality Show can we air in its place?

Exec 1 (looking up from a list of shows) : Oh dear…

Exec 2: What is it?

Exec 1: It looks like all of our Reality Shows are already airing.

Exec 2: We don’t have anything else in the works? My Big Fat Obnoxious Makeover Reunion or something?

Exec 1 (shaking head) : Nothing we can get on by next week.

New Exec: Should we just keep running Point Pleasant for another week or two, until something else is ready?

Exec 2 (snaps) : Look, if you don’t have a serious suggestion, just keep quiet, okay?

Exec 1: Maybe we could run a marathon of some earlier Reality Show?

Exec 2: Maybe…

New Exec: Uh… I was wondering…

Exec 2 (crossly) : Yes?

New Exec: What do we do with all of the unaired episodes of shows we’ve cancelled?

Exec 2 (shrugging) : They’re lying around here somewhere I suppose, why?

New Exec: I was just thinking… maybe we could air some of those… or something…

Exec 2: Hmmm… An already cancelled show…

Exec 1: It’s a pretty crazy idea.

Exec 2: Yeah, but it could work. We could really hype it up too, you know. “Only six new episodes remaining until the exciting Series Finale, blah blah blah.” That kind of thing.

Exec 1: Six?

Exec 2: Six, four. What does it matter? How ever many we’ve got handy. Just to give us time to get the next Reality Show ready to air.

Exec 1: And, since it’s already been cancelled, it’ll save us the trouble of having to cancel it later!

Exec 2 (nodding excitedly) : Exactly!

Exec 1: How about Tru Calling? We have exactly six of those.

Exec 2 (scowling slightly) : It’s really already outlived its life span, but… we do need something. I guess it might as well be Tru Calling. Okay, do it.

New Exec: So, we actually have a Series Finale?

Exec 2 (glaring) : What? I don’t know. Probably not, since we certainly didn’t let them know ahead of time that they were being cancelled.

[Exec 1 and Exec 2 chuckle]

Exec 2: Who cares though? If it’s the last episode we air, then it’s the Series Finale… right? Right.

Flash forward. The present…

[Exec 1 and Exec 2 in another meeting]

Exec 1: We’ve got an exciting new season of The Simple Life, ready to go.

Exec 2: That’s great news! When can we start it?

Exec 1: Well, we’ve got one more episode of Tru Calling, and then we can put it on Thursday nights.

Exec 2: Tru Calling? Really? Is that thing still on?

Exec 1: Just the Series Finale. Remember? We brought back the unaired episodes to fill in the gap, when we cancelled Point Pleasant last month.

Exec 2: Oh, right, I remember. Well, we don’t really need it any more do we?

Exec 1: Not really, no. We’ve got lots of new Reality Shows lined up… oh, and we also ordered 13 episodes of a new show called The Inside. We should be able to run four or five episodes of that, before we cancel it.

Exec 2: It’s not a Reality Show?

Exec 1: No, it’s a new series from Tim Minear. You remember? Firefly? Wonderfalls?

Exec 2 (laughing) : Him? Really? You’d think he’d have learned by now… Well, he’d better hope it gets to number one pretty quickly then.

Exec 1: And if it doesn’t?

Exec 2 (scoffs) : What do you think?

[Exec 1 makes a cutting motion]

Exec 2: But of course.

[Exec 1 and Exec 2 laugh. Fade to black.]

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