Is America ready for a new reality television show -- one in which prospective homeowners of various ethnic groups and sexual orientations vie to win new digs in an all-white neighborhood?
Apparently not. Disney's
So a show that was supposed to help bridge the bigotry gap is canned after offending a smattering of interest groups that are often at each other's throats. Someone check the irony meter. But hey! At least the show got the divergent groups together. So, sure, we can argue about the cancellation -- but why?
From an investing perspective, this move shows how far ABC has come in its turnaround. A year ago, ABC would have probably embraced the controversy. For a network suffering through abysmal ratings, a little notoriety could have gone a long way toward shaking up a fading audience. That's why ABC had no problem rolling with shows like Are You Hot? or I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! that tested the boundaries of primetime television quality.
ABC is in a different position now. It's a contender. It doesn't need to take chances. It doesn't need to fling mud to see whether the ratings will stick. Last year, Disney's broadcasting network would sometimes come in a distant fourth behind Viacom's
The old ABC would have stuck to its July 17 premiere for Welcome to the Neighborhood, which promised to give a free home to a minority family, based on the ultimate preferences of the three families that currently live in the cul-de-sac.
Now the network can afford to call off a show like The Benefactor if it just isn't making the cut before its initial run is even complete. Likewise, it can afford to shelve this potentially controversial show.
Desperate? Lost? Grey? Not Disney's ABC, my friends. Not now.
Some more primetime headlines:
- Apparently, I wasn't the only one surprised to be watching ABC last fall.
- Disney wouldn't mind if you ditched your own neighborhood for a week or two to join it at Disneyland's 50th anniversary celebration.
- It's all part of saving Disney's world.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz spent two weeks in central Florida last month, taking in more than his share of Mickey Mouse. He owns shares of Disney. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.