Syfy dealt geekdom a serious blow by canceling “The Wil Wheaton Project.”
The network ordered 12 episodes of this summer series in April, and “The Wil Wheaton Project” premiered on Tuesday, May 27. This 30-minute weekly topical comedy show featured Wheaton offering his thoughts, and a dose of humor, on the week’s trending stories related to pop culture, television, video games and news.
Although the show was a hit with Wheaton’s fans, Syfy decided to pull the plug. He broke the news of the show’s demise in a blog post on his website, WIL WHEATON dot NET. He explains that he received a call from a network executive on Wednesday, August 27. Wheaton says he was having a great day up to that point. He had just enjoyed a pleasant stroll on the beach with his wife, Anne. But the mood changed when the Syfy executive called. “I’m about to make your day less great,” the unnamed exec stated.
He informed Wheaton that, despite all his best efforts to save the show, the executives in New York decided against ordering more episodes of “The Wil Wheaton Project,” citing insufficient viewership as the justification.
Although he would prefer to have the show continue, Wheaton says, “I’m really okay with it.” He continues, “I’m super sad that I won’t get to work with my writers and producers, and I’m sad that we don’t get to keep writing jokes, but I did everything I could to help the show succeed. I promoted it the best way I could, I worked hard to write stuff that was funny, and I tried so, so, so hard to get the network executives in New York to understand how they could help the show succeed.”
Syfy has noticeably targeted the geek audience recently with programming like “Heros of Cosplay,” “My Big Fat Geek Wedding” and “Fangazm.” And by tapping Wheaton, a recognized champion of geek culture, Syfy was poised to dominate the geek television market. But, apparently, the network was unable to replicate the geek talk show success Comedy Central found with Chris Hardwick’s “@Midnight.”
Another element that likely affected the decision to scrap Wheaton’s show is the shifting focus of the network. Syfy announced earlier this year that it plans to return to the network’s science-fiction roots.
Wheaton isn’t letting the demise of his show get him down. “I had made a decision the day we wrapped the show, that I was going to be okay whether Syfy picked us up, or not.” He continues, “I can honestly say that I am really okay with where I am today. I’m looking forward to doing Tabletop and our upcoming RPG show. I’m looking forward to writing more stories, getting excited, and making more things.”
And, knowing his audience well, Wheaton cautions, “Oh, and let me just stop this before it starts: we nerds have a penchant for letter-writing campaigns and stuff to try and save shows we like. Please don’t do that here. It’s not going to happen, and we should instead put that energy into something else, like getting #butts to trend.”
So, when you share this story on Twitter, do Wil a favor and include the “#butts” hashtag.