Paramount+ Is Erasing Another Woke Series as Streaming Services No Longer Have the Luxury of Agenda-Driven Content

On the surface, the announcement of a TV/streaming series being canceled is not newsworthy. There is a flood of new programming belched out to the public each season and there is no way for every title to be a viable property. But the news of the demise of “Rise of the Pink Ladies” on Paramount+ carries a few significant details.


Debuting on April 6, while it arrived in the flood of reboots/sequels/prequels and more relied upon to fuel streaming services, it felt as if this series would have half a chance at success given it being spot-welded onto an established cultural property. However, by June 1, at the conclusion of its 10-episode run, the show was not seen as a flashpoint in the entertainment realm. Critically dismissed, it also saw the audience failed to be impressed.

The main issue with this prequel was that this was set up as an origin story of the female gang seen in the original film, predating the era of Danny and Sandy. But, since Hollywood is incapable of stopping itself, the story HAD to be injected with contemporary sensibilities. Mixed-race casting, modern social causes, and same-sex relationships were included in the musical series. While those elements are not in themselves a problem, when you have a story set in the early 1950s these modern touches do not fit, both because of anachronisms of the era as well as departures from the source material.

It becomes apparent just how much of a failure “Pink Ladies” has been when, shortly after its finale, Paramount+ announced the series was canceled. Beyond it not getting a renewal, the series is also going to be removed entirely from the Paramount+ library next week. This appears like a stark move, but it is a result of reality crashing down on the streaming services.


After years of hype, excitement, and perpetual news of series and movies being moved or acquired, as well as scores of new original projects announced, the streaming services are now settling into an environment of reality. It is leading to a number of trends being seen across the spectrum. What had been regarded as a fertile landscape is now seen as a heavily competitive marketplace, and economic realities are hitting home.

Before recently, new projects and renewals were automatic, due to a need for customer-luring content, but now cancellations and even the killing of proposed projects are becoming the norm. Consolidation is also taking place as a cost-cutting move. Paramount+ this week will be folding in its Showtime streaming service. Coming up, the Warners property Discovery+ will be merged with HBO Max, and Hulu is soon expected to be combined with Disney+. 

Most services are still a lengthy period away from profitability. The swelling tide of subscriptions is slowing or ebbing for most, and now what was seen as a flush time for content build-up is becoming a drain on bottom lines, so decisions are being made across the field. Some of the moves are partially due to the current writers’ strike. The demands by the scribes have generated a reassessment of practices.


It was originally believed that shows could live permanently in the libraries of streaming services, with selections to be called up on the whims of the customers. But these titles have royalties and residuals attached to performers and content producers, so poor-performing properties have become a drain on the service providers. As a result, we have seen many streaming services taking tax write-downs on losing ventures and then culling titles from their vaults, to avoid making future payouts.

This has been especially stark when looking at “Pink Ladies” not only getting the pink slip but also becoming erased entirely from Paramount+ after barely two months in existence. The company clearly crunched the numbers and saw no way for this title to operate as a positive-revenue entity. These tougher times mean that there is less flexibility for the streamers, with far less tolerance for shows that underperform. 

Some of these dispatched properties could possibly see life on other FAST services (Free Advertising Supported Television) – such as Roku, Pluto, or Tubi – but that will only be a reality if there is a justifiable audience demand with even those lowered standards. If the ads cannot support those long-term payouts then these shows will wither away.


When blank checks were tossed around for the sake of building up libraries there was the luxury of seeing woke productions being viable. Now however the providers have to measure things on a much tighter standard, and when these audience-repelling lectures dressed up as entertainment are blatant failures, they are quickly removed before they metastasize as a costly drain.


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