Love him or hate him, Wil Wheaton is a beacon of light for all things nerd-tastic in the world, with a massive fanbase that would follow him into a sarlacc pit and back. (And if you hate him, you’ve clearly got too much negativity in your blood.) Unfortunately, that fanbase was not enough to convince Syfy execs that another season of The Wil Wheaton Project was worth getting into. Yet Warehouse 13 somehow made it to five seasons. (Not that I’m knocking that series.)
Wheaton announced the news himself via his blog at WilWheaton.net, and he was just as unapologetically thoughtful and kind about everything as one would expect. Maybe a little snarky, but not much, and nowhere near as blatantly rude as I’d have been. Maybe there’s a reason I’m not the former host of anything at this point in my life.
While most cancellation notices that come from major news outlets are just that, Wheaton offers some insight into his loss. He was on his way home from a walk on the beach with his wife when he got the call from a Syfy exec, whose name is never mentioned. The suit told Wheaton that it was through no fault of the show or its content that the ax came down, but that the network’s New York executives just didn’t think there were enough viewers to make another season worth it. And here’s where Wheaton puts his common sense to work:
I didn’t say anything about the total lack of promotion off the network, or point out that our ratings were on par with The Soup, or that ratings are always lower in summer than the fall. I didn’t bother saying any of that, because I know he knows that. I was reasonably confident that he made those arguments with New York when he was trying to get the show renewed. I presume he fought hard for us, but ultimately couldn’t sway executives in New York who never seemed — in my opinion — to really understand what kind of show we were doing, who I was and why I was hosting it, and how to engage with and promote to the audience who would like it.
Really, a lot of people would look at The Wil Wheaton Project and wonder exactly what it was. It covered sci-fi, horror, and fantasy news, but also hit upon viral videos, original sketches, and oddball concepts like “Skeletor Reads Angry Tweets.” Or the clever video below, called “Literally Everything Else From Your Childhood: The Movie.” Donkey Lips!
Not exactly material that an unattached network higher-up would understand; but had they taken the time to reach out to Wheaton’s fans to see just how welcome this kind of a series was, they might not have been so quick to put a flat price on viewership. How much could this show have cost Syfy, anyway?
In any case, we’ll miss you, Wil Wheaton Project. And though he asks fans not to spend time sending angry letters and hoping for a resurrection — telling them instead to put energy into “getting #butts to trend” — we’re hoping that someone out there recognizes how unique this show was and gives it a second shot. Make it happen, Kevin Smith and Chris Hardwick.