Q: Why did NBC cancel "Rise"? The actors were wonderful -- I really cared about the characters. Interesting storyline and the singing was fabulous. I was really disappointed.

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

Unfortunately, perhaps, there's no interesting story for why NBC dropped "Rise," which seemed like a promising, feel-good musical drama in the style of "Glee" or "Nashville." It just didn't perform well versus expectations (unlike the plucky young singers it featured).

Its premiere in March drew 5.5 million viewers, which is solid but not great, particularly for a fairly expensive scripted show. However, the ratings dropped steadily from there.

One of the reasons it was expensive is also a reason why it held such promise. It was created by Jason Katims, whose previous work has included beloved melodramas "Friday Night Lights" and "Parenthood," and it starred Josh Radnor, still beloved for his role in the modern-classic sitcom "How I Met Your Mother." It was also co-produced by Jeffrey Seller, who was one of the brains behind the Broadway phenomenon "Hamilton."

"Rise's" plot, about a crusading young teacher trying to inspire kids through performing art, earned it comparisons to "Fame" and "Glee," and Katims' involvement had the New York Times calling it "'Friday Night Lights' for theater kids." With towering expectations like these, it's almost not surprising that it didn't do well.

And it didn't. The show certainly had its fans (yourself among them, obviously), but simply not enough.

Comparing ratings by time-slot is less important in the DVR era, but for what it's worth, "Rise" generally finished third in its time-slot (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.). Even its finale in mid-May finished there, far behind ABC's "Black-ish" and CBS's "NCIS: New Orleans," both in terms of total viewers ("NCIS: NO" pulled in 9.95 million to "Rise's" 4.23) and place in the 18-49 demographic (in which "Black-ish" finished five points ahead).


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