It Wasn't The Marketing: FX Chief John Landgraf On Why 'Terriers' Didn't Work

FX president John Landgraf did something network presidents rarely do – he got on the phone with reporters today to discuss the reasons behind FX’s decision to cancel the Shawn Ryan/Ted Griffin praised but low-rated series Terriers after one season. A lot had been said about the marketing campaign for the show, with some complaining that the billboards featuring the gnarling dog may have been misleading and thus responsible for the buddy detective show’s low-rated launch. Landgraf said that those billboards were only used in Los Angeles and New York, and, 3 weeks into the series’ run, he ordered a study with 600 people who had not seen the show that examined the effectiveness of TerriersTV promos that had dominated the series’ marketing campaign. The testing showed that the promos “represented the show extremely well and explained very well what it was about,” Landgraf said. “From my standpoint, the marketing department of FX has taken a little bit  of unfair knocks for the lack of performance of the show. I don’t think there is anybody to blame. It’s hard to explain why people didn’t watch.” One of his theories is Terriers‘ “subtle charm,” which certainly “doesn’t describe pop content” in today’s era of laud shows like Jersey Shore, Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead. Landgraf said that he parsed through the show’s ratings (Even if it had doubled its numbers for the first season, Terriers would still rank as FX’s lowest-rated freshman series, he said), and came to the conclusion that a renewal was not financially feasible. “If I objectively believed that the reason the show didn’t launch was that we failed to tell viewers what it was about – a scruffy buddy detective show – that we had convinced them that the show was about dog fighting, I would’ve picked it up,” Landgraf said. “I love the show. Sometimes there is a poor correlation between creative and commercial success, but we will keep swinging.” One thing he would’ve changed had there been a second season is the title of the series to the more descriptive Terriers: PI. Landgraf said.

In a tweet, Terriers executive producer Shawn Ryan supported FX’s decision. “Thanks for all the condolences, Terriers fans. Ultimately, we couldn’t get enough people to watch. Don’t blame FX. They’re still 1st class.” But The highest praise for the show today came from Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof. “Cancellation sucks, but ten years from now, we’ll still be talking about Terriers,” he tweeted.

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