In television, with a successful creation usually comes the chance to create something else. As a successful series runs on longer and longer, the network that carries it will sometimes give the creator of the hit an opportunity to create a new show. And then, because the studio doesn't quite trust the creator, they'll proceed to engage in Executive Meddling until the new show dies a horrible death.
This can be done by moving the show around in the schedule so often that no one can find it; issuing demands on the direction and content of the show to the creator that introduce things the fans hate; demanding that the new show be more and more like the old show; or even pre-emptively cancelling a show before it has a chance to actually generate an audience. In some cases, the show actually ends up being better than the original and the network buries it to avoid killing the existing cash cow.
Of course, sometimes the failure of the new show isn't the studio's fault. Sometimes the studio gives the creator carte blanche when it came to production, and as a result the show is either too bad or just too self-indulgent. Perhaps the show ends up built around the creator's own likes and dislikes or turns into a series of rants about the creator's pet causes. In any case, it fails to connect with the audience because it lacks the broader appeal of the old series.
This can also lead to The Firefly Effect, as fans are afraid to commit to a new show that is perceived as being ultimately doomed to failure, no matter how successful the original show is. Compare Sophomore Slump.
- In a combination of this trope and Creator Breakdown, several of Marvel Comics' biggest artists at the time left that company to form Image Comics, in reaction to what they say was an overabundance of Executive Meddling. What followed was a textbook example of how not to run a comic book company; it was only when Rob Liefeld was kicked out and the company got new management (Jim Valentino and then Erik Larsen) that the company started going well. Image still survives today, complete with a very diverse range of comics, including The Walking Dead, Age of Bronze, Fell and plenty of other well regarded works. Not to mention Image actually managed to kill another book company by associating with them. That's how you don't run a company.
- After the success of Runaways, the series then-editor C.B. Cebulski conceived of a spin-off series featuring Excelsior, the group of former teen superheroes who appeared in the "True Believers" arc. Problems came up almost immediately; Stan Lee held the trademark to the word "Excelsior", which forced Cebulski to change the mini-series title to The Loners. A long delay between conception and publication didn't help; by the time the first issue came out in 2007, the landscape of the Marvel universe had been altered by Civil War, which required Cebulski to explain why none of the characters had decided to simply register so that they could legally keep being superheroes rather than sitting around and complaining about their lost superhero careers. Ultimately, the series lasted only six issues.
- Coming off the Oscar-winning success of The Deer Hunter, it seemed Michael Cimino could do no wrong and was poised for another surefire hit. His next film, Heaven's Gate, is one of the standout examples of Troubled Production, over-budgeting, and general practice of a director having too much control. It's largely responsible for the end of the New Hollywood era of films.
- Despicable Me is the film that put Illumination Entertainment on the map. Following the complete bank maker that it was, they released Hop, which was savaged critically and financially disastrous. It still ranks as their poorest grossing film to this day.
- Star Trek
- Many fans think that each series following Star Trek: The Next Generation in turn suffered from this trope in an ever-increasing fashion. Then again, fans of The Original Series (including the actors themselves) panned all of the others. If you look for unanimity in Trekdom, you will be disappointed.
- Subjective quality levels aside, what is true is this: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine experimented with serialized storylines; while it was the early part of a general trend and one of the reasons "Niners" are so dedicated, executives believed this contributed to lower ratings during the series' run (in truth, its ratings were consistently HIGHER than Voyager's). Because of this, the execs decided that Star Trek: Voyager should aim for dinnertime TV family fare like the vastly-more successful The Next Generation: "X of the Week" plots, one-shot guest appearances, and a more adventuresome tone overall. What actually wound up happening was VOY became a show not unlike DS9, only minus the character-building and serialization. The cast calculus is much the same. Numerous aliens from DS9 (supposedly in another corner of the galaxy) appeared in the show, often more than once. It indulged in darker storylines and plenty of deaths – but without lasting consequences, one could pop into a random episode and partake in VOY without becoming lost. The result is a show which was expected to be a bigger commercial and merchandising hit (though it failed at that, as noted above), but not necessarily one beloved by fandom.
- When Star Trek: Enterprise rolled around, a Trek show had been on the air for twenty years, and ENT's attempt to change things with a prequel setting still relied on samey episodic plots while competing shows were getting way into serialization, not to mention that Berman and Braga had been running the show for long enough that their fatigue was noticeable. An attempt to change this was made by giving season three one big plotline, and season four brought in a new showrunner who had multiple two- and three-parters, but network changes to the timeslot and fans who'd already been turned off by the first two seasons meant that season four was the last one.
- After two successful made-for-TV movies, Kolchak: The Night Stalker was under-promoted and only made it a season. Stephen King, in his nonfiction book Danse Macabre, argues that that's the least of the series' problems.
- According to Aaron Sorkin, the failure of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip was because of his own Creator Breakdown.
- Crusade was torpedoed by the cable network TNT: after they'd picked up the final season of Babylon 5 when its original network PTEN disintegrated, they discovered that none of the viewers of Babylon 5 were crossing over to watch the rest of their programming and vice versa. So they deliberately screwed around with Crusade, flagrantly engaging in Executive Meddling and being deliberately difficult with the show's creator J. Michael Straczynski, so that they'd have an excuse to cancel it.
- Every spinoff to M*A*S*H except Trapper John, M.D., including AfterMASH and the unsold pilot W*A*L*T*E*R, died from Executive Meddling.
- Millennium and Harsh Realm, both by The X-Files creator Chris Carter, were both victims of studio frustration with The Chris Carter Effect.
- Hill Street Blues creator Steven Bochco had so much pull at the time following the success of his cop drama that ABC gave him an unprecedented deal to create ten shows for the network. Among them were the notorious misfires Cop Rock and Capitol Critters, the first a musical police drama that mixed gritty police realism with song and dance numbers and the second a prime-time animated series about mice living in the White House. The first is considered a legendarily bad series, while the second has achieved a cult following. In fairness, Doogie Howser, M.D. and NYPD Blue also came out of this deal, and these were successful shows.
- Syfy's series Stargate Universe and Caprica both fell to this; their timeslots were constantly tampered with instead of airing them at the time when their predecessors had succeeded. Caprica was cancelled right before November sweeps, which would naturally have contained some of the most exciting and dramatic episodes of the season. The shows suffered from massive, unnecessary hiatuses in airing, frequently returning with little to no warning. They were put up against the big networks' prime time dramas on highly competitive nights (if you had a quarter for every comment online complaining about scheduling conflicts...) and just generally making irrational decisions. Eventually, Syfy decided they wanted a different kind of Battlestar Galactica spin-off and decided to replace it wholesale with Blood and Chrome. SGU, on the other hand, seems to have had a certain level of network demands that pissed off existing franchise fans. Syfy tried to say that the show wasn't drawing in the "wider" audience they wanted, when the reasons cited for Atlantis's cancellation were that it didn't get enough of the 18–49 males (that show having a large female audience). Is it a coincidence these things occurred at the same time Syfy rebranded and subsequently expressed disdain for their target audience? Subsequently, Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome was initially announced as a two-hour Pilot Movie. It was later reduced to a web-exclusive, ten-part miniseries, with each episode being only 12 minutes long (and then the episodes were compiled and aired as a two-hour movie anyway). It's unclear if Syfy has any plans to continue Blood and Chrome, in either medium.
- Jenji Kohan followed up her show Weeds with Ronna and Beverly, a show that not only failed to get picked up but was only aired once on Showtime in the middle of the night. Her second attempt at a follow-up, Tough Trade, failed to get picked up as well. Ronna and Beverly actually got revived as a podcast. Fortunately, she scored with Orange Is the New Black which quickly became much bigger than Weeds ever was.
- Doctor Who begat two very popular spin-off series during the tenure of showrunner Russell T Davies: Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Under showrunner Steven Moffat, the series has featured a number of Backdoor Pilot episodes featuring characters and concepts ripe for spinoffs (examples include The Paternoster Gang, UNIT, Psi and Saibra, and Clara and Ashildr). The only spin-off to come out of the Moffat era, however, was Class (2016) which featured only the most oblique connection to the series by way of a supporting character who'd only appeared a couple of times ( and was almost immediately killed off). Originally released via the online streaming service BBC Three, Class failed to even register in the top 50 streaming programs and subsequent over-the-air broadcast by BBC One was done in "burn-off" style in a graveyard time slot.
- Many musical acts fall victim to the "Sophomore Slump" with their second album. Some recover, others don't.
- Nelly followed up the acclaimed Sweat/Suit double album (which sold six million copies together) with Brass Knuckles, which was critically panned and sold less than 250,000 copies. He attempted to make up for it with 5.0 but it didn't fare any better.
- Two Country Music artists have had the biggest country song of the year per the Billboard Year-End charts, only to follow up with a flop. Specifically:
- James Otto's "Just Got Started Lovin' You", a two-week #1 and the biggest country hit of 2008, was followed by the #39 dud "For You", and his career never recovered.
- In 2012, after a discography that had long run hot and cold, Josh Turner had the biggest hit of the year with "Time Is Love" (although it never hit #1 on the airplay charts). The follow-up, "Find Me a Baby", stalled out at #42.
- Heartland was only the second country music band ever to hit #1 with a debut single: specifically, 2006's "I Loved Her First". However, the label (Lofton Creek) was inexperienced with Top 40 radio, as it usually only worked singles to smaller-market stations not on the Billboard chart survey. Between their inexperience and indecision over what the next single would be (they waffled over the very similar-sounding "Built to Last" and the more upbeat "Let's Get Dirty"), Heartland wound up being one of the more literal examples of a One-Hit Wonder in country music and never saw the Top 40 again. They tried to follow up on a few more labels, lost four of the six members in favor of one new one, and had yet more followups that went nowhere.
- Jerrod Niemann had one of the biggest country hits of 2014 with "Drink to That All Night", a #1 smash that was certified platinum. What did he follow it up with? "Donkey", a very polarizing Double Entendre-laden song that died a very rapid death at #43. This seemed to kill the album's momentum entirely, as he quickly switched out for "Buzz Back Girl", which fared little better at #35. What little promotion "Buzz Back Girl" got also seemed to act as if "Donkey" didn't exist.
- Buddha and the Chocolate Box was one of Cat Stevens' best-selling albums, peaking at #2. His next album, Numbers, while still somewhat successful (peaking at #13), almost led him to giving up his career, but Executive Meddling pushed him on to record Izitso (#7) and Back to Earth (#33).
- Mark Ronson went from having an inescapable 14-week #1 megahit with "Uptown Funk" to not being able to chart his follow-ups anywhere. However this probably due to everyone in existence assuming it was featured vocalist Bruno Mars' song rather than his.
- This has happened many times to Little Big Town. First, "Little White Church" off their fourth album The Reason Why was a Top 10 hit on the country charts, but followups "Kiss Goodbye" and "The Reason Why" both stalled at #42. Then after the one-two punch of "Pontoon" (their first #1 hit) and "Tornado" (which hit #2) off the next album, both "Your Side of the Bed" and "Sober" just barely made Top 30. Then after the monster hit that was "Girl Crush", followup "Pain Killer" only got to #38. Then after the success of "Girl Crush"'s corresponding album Pain Killer, they recorded the pop album Wanderlust which did absolutely nothing at all. Finally, the #1 smash "Better Man" in 2017 was followed by "Happy People", which became their lowest peaking single to date at #46.
- Ray Stevens had this happen with both of his #1 hits on the Hot 100: "Everything Is Beautiful" was followed by a string of duds which all failed to hit the Top 40 ("America, Communicate with Me", "Sunset Strip", "Bridget the Midget", and a series of gospel songs). Much later, "The Streak" was followed by the #73 "Moonlight Special" (although that time, he quickly bounced back with his #14 cover of "Misty"... only to flop again until he stopped hitting the Hot 100 entirely in 1979).
- Country Music singer Randy Houser has had this happen twice. First, after his debut album spawned a big hit in "Boots On", he led off his second album with "Whistlin' Dixie", which stalled at #31 and sent said second album into Development Hell. Two more singles followed, one of which ("I'm All About It") didn't even make the cut of his second album, which was quietly released in fall 2010. Another single, "In God's Time", also went nowhere, and he left his label. After signing to Broken Bow Records, he seemed destined for the big time when his first album for the label brought him four big hits in a row, including the #1 singles "How Country Feels" and "Runnin' Outta Moonlight". His second Broken Bow album also produced a #1 in "We Went", but this trope came into being again when that song's followup, "Song Number 7", debuted at #43 and quickly fell from the charts... and its followup, "Chasing Down a Good Time", didn't even make the charts at all!
- In 2002, Tracy Byrd had the #1 smash "Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo", his first trip to the top of the country charts since 1993. The followup single, "Lately (Been Dreamin' 'bout Babies)", stalled out at #38 and didn't even appear on an album due to its underperformance.
- Justin Moore's 2013 album Off the Beaten Path produced the hits "Point at You" and "Lettin' the Night Roll", but then his label released a multi-artist Mötley Crüe tribute album and decided to promote his rendition of "Home Sweet Home" (featuring Mötley Crüe lead singer Vince Neil) as a single. It petered out at #30, so they went back to Off the Beaten Path for another single. That choice, "This Kind of Town", became his first single to miss the Top 40 entirely.
- This happened twice early in Blake Shelton's career. His #1 debut smash "Austin" was followed by the #18 flop "All Over Me", while his second #1 hit "The Baby" was followed by the #32 "Heavy Liftin'" (and, judging from its chart run, that song was prematurely withdrawn for "Playboys of the Southwestern World", which fared little better at #24).
- Dan Seals' last #1 country hit, his 1990 cover of Sam Cooke's "Good Times", was followed by the #49 "Bordertown". Seals never hit Top 40 again, despite having previously had a hot streak of Top 10 hits dating back to 1984 (and several more in The '70s as one-half of the soft-rock duo England Dan & John Ford Coley).
- Jake Owen topped the country charts in 2016 with "American Country Love Song". Its followup "If He Ain't Gonna Love You" bombed at #37, becoming his lowest charting song to date.
- Dierks Bentley has had this happen a few times:
- His debut smash "What Was I Thinkin'" was followed later in 2003 by "My Last Name", which for nearly seven years remained his only single not to reach Top 10 on the country charts or enter the Hot 100 at all.
- After a false start with "Bourbon in Kentucky" (withdrawn due to radio stations not wanting to play a moody ballad in the summer), his Riser album produced three #1 hits... followed by the title track, which stalled out at #24.
- The first three singles off Black were all successful, with the first two reaching #1 and the title track reaching #2, but "What the Hell Did I Say" produced his lowest chart peak ever of #46.
- Dan + Shay followed up three straight #1 Country Airplay hits with "Road Trippin'", which became their first single to miss the Top 40 entirely.
- Rascal Flatts' 2017 single "Yours If You Want It" was a #1 country hit. It was followed by "Back to Us" which became their very first single not to even crack top 40 (their previous record low peak was #21).
- Darryl Worley's 2003 smash "Have You Forgotten?" spent seven weeks at #1 on the country charts in 2003. Its followup was "Tennessee River Run", which only got to #31. The album's third single only got to #57.
- Steve Holy followed up the five-week Hot Country Songs #1 "Good Morning Beautiful" with "I'm Not Breakin'", which fizzled out in the mid-20s and started a chain of underperforming singles that delayed his second album for five years.
- All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling Association was set up to oversee the many women's pro wrestling organizations that sprung up in response to Mildred Burke's WWWA in the same manner the National Wrestling Alliance oversaw promotions on a larger scale. Unfortunately, the Japanese promoters didn't respect this body's authority, not even after the NWA itself sent The Fabulous Moolah to drop the World Women's title to Yukiko Tomoe in 1968, and in the end only one promotion survived.
- WCW Monday Nitro was a hit, such a hit that TBS wanted another one. Eric Bischoff, for his part, didn't want to do it but was forced to anyway and the lack of care put into making Thursday Night Thunder, as it came to be called, showed.
- Another relating to the success of Nitro was an attempt to split one of the main reasons for it, the nWo, into it's own separate brand. Yet, the nWo Nitro had weak ratings and the nWo Souled Out pay per view was derided, so this did not come to pass.
- Ring Ka King, another project by Jeff Jarrett after he lost control of TNA that used much of the same talent and acquired the training services of OVW. It drew great crowds and popped decent ratings in India but petered out after no one decided to pick it up for another season.
- In software development, this trope is called "the second-system effect". It tends to imply a Troubled Production as well, as the term was coined during one: IBM's System/360 project in the 1960s, which was fraught with delays, feature creep and general loss of morale (one key lesson learned was "adding workers to a late project just makes it later"). The book The Mythical Man-Month by Fred Brooks (who was project manager on the System/360) describes the struggles to get the project out on time, and is considered a classic in tech and business circles.
- Short-lived 1990s Apple Macintosh shareware company Storm Impact had two hit programs right out of the gate, both video games: the RPG TaskMaker and the skiing sim MacSki. Both were fairly successful games met with positive reviews. Their next two products were a Shoot 'em Up called Asterbamm and a technical support utility called Technical Snapshot, both of which bombed.
And just when they looked to be getting back on track with a sequel to TaskMaker called The Tomb of the TaskMaker, the company went under due to a combination of undercapitalization (they were mostly just one programmer and one graphic artist, and their resources were further drained during a lawsuit against a software-of-the-month club which Storm Impact won), issues with a publisher who kept botching orders, a declining Macintosh market at the time, and advances in video game development since the first version of MacSki came out. Storm Impact closed up shop right after Tomb was rushed out in Obvious Beta form.
- The Critic and Futurama were both killed by FOX, despite initially outdrawing The Simpsons. Although Futurama was killed by Fox, its popularity in syndication and DVD sales has resulted in new episodes being commissioned for Comedy Central.
- After the successes of Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go!, Nickelodeon decided to create a third Dora series, Dora and Friends: Into The City. However, after it failed due to being overshadowed by PAW Patrol, Nickelodeon decided to shove anything Dora-related into early morning timeslots on Nick Jr. when the target audience wouldn't be up and pulled reruns off the main Nickelodeon channel.