Who else perked up with indignation and aggressively whispered “Netflix!” and/or “Disney Plus” in answer? I wouldn’t be surprised if you all say yes — given the number of articles this human has penned about shows both streamers have canned (and sometimes deleted) in the last few months, they do seem like the obvious answer, don’t they? But that’s not the case, as another autocratic offender wears the crown of canceling the most shows.
The elation of binging a new show is now enveloped in the all-consuming fear that it might not survive to see the light of its next season. And for the last few months, Netflix and Disney Plus have developed an unofficial camaraderie of keeping this terror alive by canceling shows left and right, and even scrapping many from existence. Well, if Netflix thought it was winning this particularly detested race, it is wrong. And if Disney Plus harbors similar aspirations… well, given that it is the second streamer with the highest rate of cancelation, it only needs to dethrone the one occupying the first position.
Which streamer has left Disney Plus and Netflix behind in canceling shows?
HBO Max, or just Max, after being lamely renamed by Warner Bros. Discovery.
The revelation has been made in a detailed deep dive by Variety, titled “The Show Must Go Off” and covering all shows canceled between 2020 and Aug. 8, 2023. While it does include cable and broadcast cancelations as well, for the sake of our query here, we only focused on the streaming statistics of axed shows on major streamers including Netflix, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, Paramount Plus, Peacock, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Max.
As per the report, HBO Max (yep, just like Twitter will never be X for us) tops all the streamers with a 26.9% rate of canceling shows. Even though Westworld felt like the poster boy of the streamer’s cancelation endeavors, it has dumped many shows since Warner Bros. and Discovery merged. Shows like The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Nevers, FBoy Island, Minx, Legendary, etc were also part of the great purge.
In second position is Disney Plus, after having canceled 21.1% of its shows, which comes as no surprise given the recent surge in its pace of canning originals. In my house, if a new show releases on Disney Plus, no matter how promising its premise and cast is, it is a rule to not watch it until it has been renewed, not that matters to streamers anymore either.
The surprising part is where Netflix, which practically kickstarted this canceling fad, lands on the list — it ranks fifth, after Max, Disney Plus, Paramount Plus, and Hulu. Between 2020 and 2023, the streaming service has only canceled 10.2% of its shows. So why does it continue to shoulder the title of doling out the most cancelations? Maybe because it has abandoned some of the biggest titles (Cowboy Bebop in less than a month and The Midnight Club) with alarming speed? Or perhaps the heights to which the fandom of the canceled shows are willing to go — Warrior Nun, anyone? — is what maintains Netflix’s image as the biggest bad guy on the cancelation map.
While it means naught in the current scenario, the study has discovered that the streamer actually lessened its cancelation rate as it progressed from 2020 to 2023. And here I thought all the celebrity Joes getting breakups this year was the only thing that was going to shock me.