Hulu SVP Originals Craig Erwich today at TCA addressed the reasons behind the streamer’s decision to cancel its Sarah Silverman talk show I Love You, America and mission-to-Mars drama The First, created by House of Cards‘ Beau Willimon and starring Oscar winner Sean Penn.
I Love You, America‘s cancellation came after the show had been nominated for an Emmy last year in the Variety Sketch Series category.
“We’re proud of what Sarah Silverman did on I Love You, America,” Erwich said. “What she set about to do was very difficult: She was trying to thread a needle and find a balance on both sides of the political conversation, which is really not something you see a lot in that genre. I think the show grew creatively between Season 1 and Season 2. It didn’t acquire a large enough audience despite the critical acclaim.”
He made a similar comment about The First, which followed members of a team of astronauts as they become the first humans to visit Mars. It was canceled after one season.
“We are really proud of The First and Sean Penn’s performance,” Erwich said. “What Beau set out to do was very ambitious, a show about people taking on the adventure of going to Mars but not the actual adventure. Unfortunately, the audience did not materialize.”
I Love You, America, which was canceled last month, repped a move by Hulu into the comedy/talk/variety genre. In the series, Silverman took a comedic approach to the country’s current political/emotional landscape, tackling the symptoms of why we are where we are today. As part of Hulu’s official description, “With monologues about this very moment coming from her personal point of view, this show aims to venture out of our echo chambers and connect unlike-minded people. The show reunites ourselves with compassion and empathy without missing a comedic beat.”
Erwich agreed that Emmy nominations are important to their shows. In an era where there is fierce competition among TV series, “awards help the audience curate,” he said.