Why Netflix Almost Cancelled GLOW

Netflix's Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling series is great - so why did they almost can it?

GLOW Debbie
Netflix

GLOW may have already established itself as one of the very best Netflix Original Series to date across its two-season run, but the ladies wrestling series was almost cancelled after just its first 10 episodes.

The show, which is based on the real-life Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling promotion and stars Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin, became an instant critical favourite, with rave reviews that were followed with Emmy nominations this year, but that didn't stop it from coming dangerously close to getting scrapped.

The news comes as part of a report into Netflix from The Wall Street Journal, looking at the clash between the execs in Hollywood who handle the creative side, and the Silicon Valley data crunchers who are responsible for the algorithms that make Netflix work and track who's watching what. And as it turns out, not too many people were tuning into GLOW Season 1, leading to a divide and the show nearing cancellation.

According to one of the paper's sources: "There were serious conversations from the tech side pressuring the Hollywood side not to renew it for a second season."

Netflix are notoriously guarded when it comes to viewing data for their original series, refusing to release ratings like the traditional networks do, so it's unclear just what sort of numbers exactly GLOW was pulling in, and whether or not they were drastically low or not. One of the few metrics to go on is social media, and reports from 2017 indicated it actually generated a lot of buzz online when it debuted, but it seems that didn't translate into enough viewers to please the Silicon Valley branch of the streaming service.

Cancellations have become an increasingly common part of Netflix's M.O, a marked change in the last year or so after previously operating on a strategy that saw almost everything renewed for at least a second season. In recent months we've even seen them can Marvel Cinematic Universe shows Iron Fist and Luke Cage, but thankfully GLOW was spared the chop thanks to the Hollywood execs fighting for it, and a desire to keep producer Jenji Kohan on-side, as per the WSJ report.

Kohan, who also created Orange is the New Black, signed a huge, multi-year deal with Netflix last year, so it's easy to see why they'd want to keep her pleased, as we've seen Netflix pouring a lot of money into creators rather than IPs recently (they've signed the likes of Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy to similar deals).

For her part, Kohan believes that it was the marketing of Season 1 that led to its supposedly poor ratings. Things obviously changed for Season 2, however, as Netflix have already renewed it for a third run, which is taking the action to Las Vegas and is expected to land on the streaming site next year.

Are you glad GLOW wasn't cancelled? Let us know down in the comments.

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TV Editor
TV Editor

NCTJ-qualified journalist. Most definitely not a racing driver. Drink too much tea; eat too much peanut butter; watch too much TV. Sadly only the latter paying off so far. A mix of wise-old man in a young man's body with a child-like wonder about him and a great otherworldly sensibility.

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