Showing once more the business acumen that killed Firefly, Arrested Development, Futurama, and Family Guy — but keeps The Simpsons going ten seasons after it stopped being funny — Fox decided this week to put Glee on hiatus, effective 12/9/09 through 4/13/10, to make room for American Idol. Apparently, neither profitability nor objective quality will stop Fox from gambling a show’s future on a whim.
This amidst news that Fox executives have kept a close watch on Chris Colfer (“Kurt,” the flamboyantly gay singer/football star). Chris himself is gay, which the network has tried to keep under wraps, to the point of censoring quotes in interviews that appeared supportive of gay rights, and raised the issue of the very real dangers faced by “out” gay teenagers. The given reason for canceling the quotes (“protecting” Chris) don’t match the edit point. To hell with Carrie Prejean: here’s a real case of a star being muzzled by a politically-sensitive network.
The decision to risk Glee proves that Fox will stop at nothing to mess up every popular but off-the-beaten-path show that come before it. Because of its astronomical ratings, though, and iTunes-driven hyper-profitability, there’s a good chance Glee will survive, despite Fox’s best efforts. Keep the show strong — buy the songs, buy the episodes on iTunes if you can, and — of course — don’t stop believin’.