Follow TV Tropes

This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.


Screwed by the Network

Go To

"Starting now on Channel 4 is a brand new show that we paid a ridiculous amount of money for which we'll launch in a blaze of publicity, and after a few weeks, we'll get bored of it and move it around the schedule where no one can find it, then we'll brand it a flop, take it off the air for six months, then reluctantly put it back on at three in the morning."

The prototypical network executive's time revolves not around nurturing talent for the benefit of all, but around making him or herself look competent. That means appearing responsible for every success and innocent of every failing that the network might have, irrespective of whether this was actually the case. Plus, the people that the executive is trying to convince are his or her fellow executives, who are likewise having the exact same neurotic crisis day in and day out.


Nevertheless, the need to keep their channels populated with new shows means that their commissioning bodies will keep putting forward all kinds of shows that may or may not appeal to the network executives' sensibilities.

For this reason, the execs will sometimes find themselves in the unfortunate position of being in charge of a show that they do not understand and therefore do not know what to do with. This presents them with a tricky situation: if the show is a failure they risk losing face, but if the show is a success then they'll look redundant.

Alternatively, the show may be a legacy commission under your predecessor, which is worse — because if it's a success, they'll have one up on you, but if you cancel it straight off, you'll lose all plausible deniability when people call you petty and small.


The answer to both of these problems, of course, is to screw the show over completely. Put it in a different time slot each episode, show it in the wrong order, bury it at midnight or in the Friday Night Death Slot, put it up against the other networks' strongest shows... do everything you can for it to build up a regular viewing audience that's not quite big enough to warrant the budget, but just big enough to cause some trouble when you cancel it for not "attracting the right audience."

Okay, okay — not all network executives are like this. There exist the individuals who intentionally seek out creative people to make shows that don't just copy one or another, and as they get promoted, they may become the very predecessors these shows are inherited from. However, screwing a show happens more often than you may wish to believe, and typically it's because they were apathetic.


Please try to avoid listing shows as being "screwed" just because of a disagreement over the reasons for their cancellation. Plenty of shows are canceled simply because they just weren't making any money even with the network backing it. This is about intentional sabotage (or at the least making decisions so stupid it looks like it was intentional), not "the mean network executives canceled my favorite show".

Often the cause of Follow Up Failure. Compare Executive Meddling, Executive Veto, Invisible Advertising, Screwed by the Lawyers, and Screwed by the Merchandise. Also compare No Export for You, though that doesn't affect the actual production, but the export of a given product.

Rarely, the situation will invert itself with Network to the Rescue. Contrast with Adored by the Network.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Card Games 
  • The Pokémon Trading Figure game in America. Fans got excited for it in 2006 when Pokémon USA announced it — a collectible figure game with high quality figures produced by noted Japanese company Kaiyodo, and featuring actual trainers from the game as figures — but the release was a disaster. All the strategy of the Japanese counterpart had been stripped, turning it into a strange hybrid of the TCG and the failed collectible coins game (essentially, it was Rock-Paper-Scissors with Pokémon, which was already Rock-Paper-Scissors where Rock wasn't necessarily going to be instakilled by Paper every single time) and the figures were impossible for collectors to find, were often broken in the packaging, and hardly advertised. In early 2009, after much delaying of the second expansion's release, it was officially announced as discontinued.
    • On top of that are the additional hurdles when trying to sell a trading figure game in the United States, especially to children: The packaging was not very theft-proof. Heroclix managed to survive because it's aimed at teens and young adults, who are less likely to just open and loot packages in-store, and reduced temptation to steal because every figurine is concealed.
  • The Luck & Logic card game befell this fate in English after two years. Simply put, it didn't seem to catch on like Vanguard or Buddyfight did. The tie-in anime generally topping at "so-so" ratings didn't help either. There was also the fact that said tie-in anime, which is based on the card game, didn't even feature the card game.

    Comic Books 
  • Dark Horse's Conan the Barbarian line has suffered this ever since 2012; first they encouraged Brian Wood (who was new to the franchise) NOT to follow the continuity of the previous series while at the same time adding a new artist every three issues. The follow up series Conan the Avenger was better written and more faithful but the art was often lambasted. The current series, Conan the Slayer, has seen the release dates of issues repeatedly pushed back.
  • Several X-Men books have suffered this over the year:
    • Mutant X was never supposed to replace X-Factor; it was supposed to run for 12 issues before going away and being replaced with a relaunched X-Factor comic. But early sales for Mutant X were far better than X-Factor's sales at the time, so the book lasted for 32 issues before being cancelled.
    • Deadpool, Cable and X-Force (under Peter Milligan and Mike Allred) were cancelled and relaunched as Agent X, Soldier X and X-Statix. The relaunches for both books failed and while Agent X and Soldier X were thankfully mercy-killed and Deadpool and Cable restored to normalcy soon after, X-Statix rebounded from a god-awful first year with an arc involving the resurrection of a vain, self-righteous pop musician. Unfortunately, the singer was SUPPOSED to be Princess Diana but was changed at the last minute. As a result, Milligan and Allred became disillusioned and asked to leave the book, which was promptly cancelled with issue #26.
      • For years, it's been a popular fan rumor the name changes were to get out of paying Rob Liefeld royalties - an apparently false rumor, since Liefeld hadn't actually been getting royalties at the time. note 
  • The Red Circle DCU revamp of the MLJ/Archie heroes has plenty of these: The original plan of using the original versions in The Brave and the Bold was scrapped in favor of launching them in a series of one-shots that immediately spun off into a pair of ongoings that debuted in the midst of Blackest Night and were the only two books to not tie in to that event, which crippled sales for them right out of the gate. It also had the $3.99 cover price with second feature format which also turned off readers. The only mainline DC book to give a major guest spot was when the Shield showed up in the low-selling Magog. DC is currently publishing a Mighty Crusaders mini-series to finish off the deal.
    • And DC has ended the Red Circle deal, and the rights are reverting back to Archie Comics!
    • And to make matters even worse, DC solicited the Mighty Crusaders mini-series (and the accompanying introductory special for the series) as a trade paperback, but cancelled it because it did not garnered enough pre-orders!
    • According to the Word of God, the Red Circle heroes (as well as most of the Milestone Comics heroes) were barred from appearing in other titles because DC would have to pay royalties for each guest-spot. So that's why save for Static, the Milestone and Red Circle heroes rarely got to appear in other, more popular titles.
    • Technically, DC's deal for the Red Circle heroes will end on January 2012!
    • Archie themselves are reviving the heroes in 2012 as the New Crusaders... as part of a web-only subscription service where the new stories are six pages each!
      • To make it less annoying, the six-page installments of New Crusaders are going to be WEEKLY, which means 24-30 pages a month for the series, at a subscription fee of $2.99-$3.99 a month, plus thousands of pages of classic stories, as well!
      • At least Archie is offering a free print preview of New Crusaders as part of the upcoming Free Comic Book Day version of Mega Man #1!
      • And there is going to be a print version of New Crusaders, which will debut in August, three months after the digital version will debut!
  • DC's highly controversial treatment of Stephanie Brown. Made the centerpiece of a highly controversial story complete with being written massively out of character and became a victim of Women In Refrigerators. She got an ongoing after she came back but was cursed with Replacement Scrappy status due to replacing the fan favorite Cassandra Cain in the role of Batgirl. When her series proved to be a massive critical success (becoming the only DC book to get into USA Today's top ten comic books), it got cancelled early to make room for the company wide reboot. She was promised a place in the Smallville Comic, only for her to be replaced by Barbara Gordon (and as recently discovered, not because Barbara was more well known, she was specifically singled out and removed, Gordon was picked after Stephanie was removed). Its been suspected that DC Editor Dan DiDio is the one responsible for this treatment, as it started after he got in charge, he was connected to most of her poor treatment, and has been the most hostile towards fan critique about it.
  • Don Rosa like almost all the other Disney comics artists never got any royalties for his work, only one-time payments based on the number of pages. This led to him barely scraping by financially for all of his career, mostly supported by the higher wages of his wife and together with his deteriorating eyesight, eventually made him depressed, lose the passion for his work and retire. He explains all this in his epilogue to the Don Rosa Collection, which Disney refused to print, resulting in him putting it online for everyone to read.
  • Marvel's treatment of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four following their entry into the film industry, especially from 2012/2013 onwards. 20th Century Fox owns the film rights to those comics, and is still making films in both series in order to hold onto the rights, so Marvel has been steadily whittling down the profiles of the comics they're based on in order to give less free promotion to Fox's films. They canceled the Fantastic Four comic outright in 2015 and sent the team their separate ways, and while the X-Men haven't undergone anything quite as drastic, it's still clear that Marvel is moving them Out of Focus. Most notably, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were retconned so that it turns out they're not mutants — something that can only be described as a deliberate jab at Fox, owing to those two characters showing up in separate incarnations in both Fox's X-Men films and in the MCU thanks to complicated legalese regarding their status as mutants. The point at which it became obvious that Marvel was doing this to screw Fox was when they went after the merchandising for the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, with toy lines for the series being pared down and T-shirts based on classic Marvel covers seeing characters from those series replaced with characters from the MCU. When Marvel's executive editor Tom Brevoort was asked about it in a Tumblr Q&A, he stated point-blank that the movies were the reason why.
    • Since approximately 2016, the X-Men have been drifting back into focus. This is partly, perhaps, because of backlash against their being shuffled aside, a general dislike of the Inhumans (who managed to become Unintentionally Unsympathetic, particularly during Inhumans vs. X-Men), and the drastic mishandling of Scott Summers (attempts to make him 'mutant Hitler' went down like a lead balloon). However, another likely reason is that Marvel have finally managed to set about extracting the X-Men film rights from Fox, and are poised to introduce the X-Men to the MCU.
  • In a weird case of this combining with Adored by the Network, we have Carol Danvers' Captain Marvel. In an attempt to make the book more popular, Marvel relaunched the series. This gave it a boost from people who picked up the first issue because it was a first issue and therefore a good starting point... and a whole lot more people losing track of the book or forgetting to put the relaunched book on their pull list, and fans reading from the trades waiting for a Volume 2 that never came. The book bled readers with stunning speed, causing Marvel to try to relaunch it again to improve sales... and then they relaunched or renumbered it three times over the course of about three years, and in June 2017, Carol was sitting pretty at 129th place on the sales charts after just six issues. The newly relaunched series, The Life of Captain Marvel, has done somewhat better in a more respectable 71st place, around the same level as contemporary Spider-Man comics.

  • V. C. Andrews' first novel, Gods of Green Mountain, got this in a way; written sometime in the 1970s, it was supposed to be split into three books and published in 1986, but wasn't (presumably due to Andrews' death that year). It seems that her publisher and estate sat on it for almost 20 years, and when it was finally published, it was as an ebook in 2004, when ebooks weren't as widespread.
  • Disney heavily underutilized the Star Darlings series, with near-invisible advertising, a lack of merchandise in general, focus on the Star Darlings band of 5 instead of all 12 girls, and a shallower, shorter webseries compared to the more serious books, but the dolls are where things really get bad. Of the 12 Star Darlings, only the core 5 had both a Starland outfit and Wishworld outfit in the US (Cassie's Starland look was UK-only), none of the supporting cast got dolls, and Scarlet's doll barely resembles her official art and cartoon look. The books were canceled in January 2017 with three planned books being shelved, the webseries last aired in late 2016, and the toyline is similarly inactive, with Jakks Pacific ceasing producing the toys.

  • They Might Be Giants had the full support of the executives for their first three albums on Elektra Records (Flood, Apollo 18, and John Henry). But while they were recording Factory Showroom, Elektra's parent company fired all the executives and the replacements didn't care for TMBG. As a result, Factory Showroom received almost no promotion when it was released, and the band asked to be released from their contract shortly after that.
  • Happened twice to Red House Painters. The band was always at risk of being thrown off of 4AD Records because Mark Kozelek and Ivo Watts had clashing personalities (one of the most notorious in the industry). They were finally thrown off in 1996 over a quarrel over two guitar solos. Then they were picked up by Island Records who, caught in the merging of different labels, decided to drop the band and refuse to release their final album Old Ramon. That album didn't see release until 2001 when Sub Pop records finally picked up.
  • This happens a great deal with many recording artists who find that, either because of cost-cutting measures or a perception of the general public's lost interest in them by the higher ups, their new releases aren't being promoted, then the albums aren't being distributed properly, then they're cut from their recording contract. EMI Records sent a huge percentage of their talent roster packing in the late 1990s - early 2000s because it was hemorrhaging money at the time, so a lot of artists who before found a lot of support from EMI ended up signing with considerably less supportive record companies, who screwed them over.
  • One of the most notorious and tragic musical examples was Big Star. They might have actually been big stars if their albums hadn't been distributed by the crumbling Stax label.
  • After Splashdown's EP Redshift rapidly sold out, the band made a new album called Blueshift. For reasons that remain mysterious, Capitol Records refused to release the album, but also retained copyright so that Splashdown could not release the album with another record company. Years later, the only way to hear those songs is through illegal downloading thanks to an internal leak. Splashdown split up due to fears that Capitol Records would retain copyright of any of their future songs.
  • Country Music artist Darryl Worley has been screwed over by having three different labels close unexpectedly on him. First DreamWorks Records in 2005 (the abrupt closure of which also killed off the careers of nearly every artist on their roster except Toby Keith); then independent 903 Music in 2007; then another independent, Stroudavarious, in 2010. The closure of Stroudavarious also left an album of material in the can despite the single ("Keep the Change") almost hitting Top 40. After that, he put out a single on Tenacity Records which barely made Top 40, but nothing since.
  • Similarly, Bigger Picture Music Group closed in May 2014 with Craig Campbell's "Keep Them Kisses Comin'" on the verge of top 10 at Billboard Country Airplay. The song lingered for a couple months after the label's closure and eventually came to an end at #8, giving the label its only Top 10 hit after it had gone out of business (thanks in no small part to Campbell himself phoning stations with requests). Similarly, Ryan Kinder's "Kiss Me When I'm Down" didn't chart until after the label had closed.
  • Roadrunner Records abruptly dumped practically every Death Metal band on the label starting the instant Type O Negative produced the label's first Gold-seller. Most of the bands coming off the label ended up slamming Roadrunner for giving their final albums there little or no promotion, and Suffocation actually got hit with massive cuts to the budget for their second album, Breeding the Spawn, which resulted in the weakest production of any release by the band to date, before being formally dumped right after their next album, Pierced from Within, hit stores. Obituary managed to hold on with the label for a few years longer than most of their contemporaries, but most believe that the So Okay, It's Average nature of 1997's Back from the Dead, as well as the band's breakup the next year, was caused by interference from the label, and when Obituary reformed in 2005, they immediately went to a different label.
  • David Bowie's 1993 album Black Tie White Noise (his first solo effort in four years) did well in Europe, hitting Number One on the U.K. charts. But it flopped in North America — in part because U.S. distributor Savage Records went belly-up shortly after it hit shelves.
  • Brazilian singer Tim Maia had just recorded a new album for EMI, when he saw the estimated marketing costs matched the money spent recording. He raged, and caused the marketing executive to ask for a dismissal... which the label owner rejected, firing Maia instead. And dumping the record (ironically named Reencontro, "reunion") on stores with Invisible Advertising to guarantee it didn't go anywhere.
  • Zig-zagged with Michael Jackson's Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix (1997) — Epic Records gave it a heavy international push, resulting in #1 chart showings in Europe, but very little North American promotion, so it never reached higher than #24 on the U.S. charts. Perhaps justified on Epic's part, given that HIStory had a huge push two years prior but quickly faded in the U.S. (so an album that consisted mostly of remixes wasn't a guaranteed hit) and Jackson never brought the HIStory tour to the continental U.S. or Canada. Also, Jackson may have sabotaged himself with the Ghosts Short Film, the most elaborate of the album's tie-in efforts, by making it a huge allegory for the child molestation allegations of 1993 — the primary reason for his drop in stature in the U.S. to begin with. Rather than trying to get it MTV airplay, Sony ran it for a week in some Los Angeles theaters (attached to the film Thinner) before shuttling it off to the international market; reporter Diane Dimond wonders if it wasn't out of embarassment with the content. (Indeed, it's still a case of Keep Circulating the Tapes after all these years in Region 1.)
  • Sort of zigzagged with Dream Theater at Elektra. After Falling Into Infinity flopped despite heavy Executive Meddling to make it more commercial, the label essentially gave the band free reign to run out their contract, but didn't promote them at all, essentially deciding that signing the group to a long-term deal was a mistake. The upshot was that after their contract with Elektra ran out, DT was able to sign with Roadrunner, who allowed them the same freedom but did a much better job promoting the band. They were able to demand the same freedoms they had previously been allowed while also making sure to sign a label that actually wanted them. Their last album for Elektra, Octivarium reached #36 on the charts (already their highest peak since Awake, largely due to changing industry standards), while Systematic Chaos, their first for Roadrunner, reached #19 and their next three albums have all hit the top 10.
  • Singer/songwriter Nicole Atkins was hit hard by this trope. Her 2007 debut Neptune City was highly acclaimed by music critics, with some even predicting she would be become the "next big thing." Unfortunately, her then-label Columbia Records unexpectedly delayed the album's release from July of that year to late October in order to give it further remastering. By which time any promotion she had gotten during the summer had long faded. The album, thus, failed to chart on the Billboard 200 and sold less than 50,000 copies overall. Needless to say, not long after, she left Columbia Records and jumped through several indie labels before finally creating her very own label (Oh Mercy Records) for her 2014 album Slow Phaser.
  • Jojo wasn't able to release an album for nine years between 2006 and 2015 due to her label Blackground being massively mismanaged and keeping her in a contract even as the company fell apart; she had to sue to finally end her deal and could only record single songs and EPs in the interim.
  • Swedish DJ Avicii is a very unique example or an artist being so Adored by the Network that he gets screwed over for that reason. In the summer of 2013, he released a song called "Wake Me Up!" Feedback of the song was overwhelmingly positive, and it quickly became the biggest EDM crossover hit of all time. After the song finished its run, it was time for Avicii to release his follow-up single, "Hey Brother." The song was destined to be another smash-hit for him...had it not been for stubborn radio executives who refused to move on to the next single. This practically crippled any momentum the song had off the back of its predecessor, and instead the song slowly limped to #16 before plummeting down the charts. Nowadays, Avicii's non-"Wake Me Up!" discography has been practically blacklisted from American radio stations, all out of adoration for his one monster hit. Sadly, these same radio executives might have killed him—he ended up retiring in 2016 and killing himself two years later, the enforced one-hit wonder stigma being alleged to have sent him to his death.
  • The only reason PSY's "Gangnam Style" was unable to dethrone Maroon 5's "One More Night" on the Hot 100 was because radio executives wouldn't play the song on high rotation out of the assumption that a novelty song sung in a foreign language would not resonate well with radio listeners. "One More Night" was the top radio song during its reign at #1. Rumor has it that "One More Night" was deliberately overplayed to ensure "Gangnam Style" wouldn't ascend to the top.
  • Bif Naked's self-titled first album was released on Plum Records in 1995. The label folded shortly thereafter without telling anybody, and the singer disappeared for a while. She came back strong after taking back the rights and re-releasing the album on her own label, Her Royal Majesty's Records.
  • Conducting from the Grave's slide from touring machine to barely-active local headliner can largely be blamed on Sumerian Records pushing them towards a more "bro"-oriented sound (their original sound was roughly akin to early The Black Dahlia Murder with some deathcore elements); while they did acquiesce somewhat on Revenants (which had a noticeably more prominent deathcore undercurrent), they were pushed to simplify their approach even more, refused to do so, and watched as their tour support dried up before vanishing altogether, which was followed by the label unceremoniously dropping them. After a Kickstarter campaign to finance their third album, they have done virtually nothing since then and announced a breakup in 2015.
  • The release of Queen's Greatest Hits, Pix and Flix, a multimedia project intended to celebrate the band's 10th anniversary, was badly botched in the United States by WEA, with Warner Books passing on Greatest Pix and Warner Home Video attempting to make Greatest Flix a rental-only release against Queen's explicit wishes. Only Greatest Hits would see release under WEA, through Elektra Records; Greatest Pix would ultimately be published by Quartet Books the next spring, while Greatest Flix would see release the same year as Greatest Hits, as part of Thorn EMI Video's North American launch slate. Amazingly, Queen didn't consider parting ways with WEA immediately; the last straw came with how Elektra handled their subsequent album, Hot Space. Freddie Mercury was reportedly so incensed, he spent the next year buying out the band's contract with Elektra.
    Jim Beach: It's a pity these three divisions of Warner Communications couldn't have joined forces for the common good of Warner Communications; now we're in a position where two ostensibly competing companies are going to have to get together to market this piece of product.
  • Kesha's song "Die Young" was yanked from several radio stations after the Sandy Hook massacre, as the title evoked the image of the 20 children being shot to death in the school. This, even though the song had nothing to do with actually dying young.
  • Disturbed's cover of "The Sound of Silence" was poised to become the first song by a hard-rock band (excluding "crossover" bands like Nickelback and Daughtry, or front-loaded debuts from Linkin Park and Breaking Benjamin) to enter the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 in seven years. Those prospects were quickly evaporated by three seismic events in the music world in a two-week time span: the death of pop legend Prince, the launch of Beyoncé's Lemonade, and the launch of Drake's Views. As compensation, "Silence" sold steadily and went triple platinum by November 2017.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • This almost happened to five shows, as the formation of Pro Wrestling NOAH didn't just involve most of the wrestlers and behind the scenes staff abandoning All Japan Pro Wrestling for it in droves but also Nippon Television deciding that after 27 years now would be the perfect time to stop airing All Japan in favor of the shiny new company featuring their old talent. NOAH founder Mitsuharu Misawa turned out to be nice enough to help All Japan a little in their last shows on the network rather than use them exclusively to promote himself, allow some of their events to remain on NTV G+, which gave AJPW time to shop and get decent(ish) deals, Gaora acquiring B-Banquet and Battle Archives, Fighting TV Samurai getting King's Road and Royal Road Club.
  • How about a company screwed by the network? In 2001, AOL Time Warner was openly looking to sell WCW, producer of the highest-rated shows for TNT (WCW Monday Nitro) and TBS (WCW Thunder), fretting over sagging ratingsnote  and growing executive hostility over the industry of professional wrestling. A group of investors, lead by WCW head booker Eric Bischoff, had a deal in principle to take over the company and absorb the production costs that the network had been covering. However, with WCW eating up two hours of prime-time and the company millions of dollars in the red with no evidence things were going to get any better, Jamie Kellner, then the Turner Networks CEO, decided to cancel all WCW programming from Turner networks, torpedoing the deal. Vince McMahon (head of WCW's longtime rival World Wrestling Federation) then swooped in and bought out WCW's remaining assets (mostly wrestler contracts and its deep tape library) for pennies on the dollar. That said, Kellner had wanted to cancel the unprofitable company for a quite a while, and the only reason WCW stayed on TV for as long as it did was the intervention of Ted Turner, who had a soft spot for wrestling. Once Turner was out of power at the network, Kellner was supported by everyone at the company.note 
  • ECW's relationship with TNN, as exemplified in a now-infamous shoot by then-chairman Paul Heyman in a June 2000 airing of ECW on TNN in which TNN refused to air a particular match originally scheduled for the broadcast (it ended up airing on ECW's syndicated program, ECW Hardcore TV), was turbulent: "You have to be an ECW fan to watch this show, because, God knows, the network has never put out one freaking commercial or one press release to let you know that we're here!" Heyman would go on to explain in the WWE-produced documentary The Rise and Fall of ECW that he blamed TNN's double-dealing for the demise of ECW; TNN rather publicly negotiated with, and subsequently signed, WWE to their network while marginalizing ECW further and further by the week, but refused to pull the trigger and actually cancel ECW, which prevented him from shopping the show around to other networks. In the last few months of the TNN run, Heyman was in open Writer Revolt, ramping up the show's offensive content and brazenly insulting TNN and its execs in an attempt to incite TNN to finally cancel the show in hopes of finding greener pastures elsewhere. The plan ultimately backfired on ECW when TNN finally did cancel the program...and ECW found themselves to be completely dried out of funds, sending the promotion into bankruptcy a year later. Ironically, Heyman would later sign with WWE after the bankruptcy and the latter would end up buying ECW's assets from bankruptcy court two years later.
  • Time for promos and actual pro wrestling matches, as well as the budget to actually improve Wrestling Society X was constantly cut into by executives who cared little about the quality of the product, or even promoting the show. Eventually, the show was cancelled after El Mesias hit someone with a fireball.
  • WGTW-48 would arbitrarily shift CZW's shows through the most unfavorable time slots possible before finally stating outright they didn't like the content and canceling the deal.
  • UPN attempted to screw WWE by moving WWE SmackDown into the famed Friday Night Death Slot (where it would face not only constant pre-emptions for local sports, but the loss of a good portion of its audience to people getting out and doing stuff on Friday nights), in order to try and pressure WWE into keeping Monday Night Raw on Spike TV. However, thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign by WWE (even rebranding the show Friday Night SmackDown!), the show managed not only to not lose any viewers, but gained enough ground that it was renewed by UPN for another two years, ensuring that it would be one of the few UPN shows picked up by the post-merger CW.
    • They ultimately wound up screwing them anyway; despite the high ratings, The CW declined to renew the program when their contract went up in 2008, primarily because the series didn't fit with the network's more teen-oriented output that UPN didn't have. SmackDown moved to the much-less-notable MyNetworkTV in late September 2008, and started beating The CW in ratings by a good margin.....until it got screwed by the Memphis and Des Moines affiliates when those stations decided to dump MyNetworkTV after they went to a syndicated model in September 2009. In both cases, however, the CW affiliate picked SmackDown up for Saturday nights and got station upgrades otherwise. The rest of the MyNetworkTV schedule was blissfully ignored by both of them. SmackDown would then move to Syfy in September 2010 and remain there for almost six years before it finally joined Raw on USA Network.
    • When WWE was ready to move Raw back to its original home on the USA Network, Spike TV went out of its way to keep them from promoting the move.
  • YouTube has had a contentious relationship with official pro wrestling channels. The Professional Girl Wrestling Association's first channel was shut down due to "copyright violations", even though the only content not owned by PGWA would have been the wrestlers themselves.
  • IWA Puerto Rico had already been ignored by Telemundo, having Impacto Total moved around the schedule or simply not aired. But when NBC took over, it went beyond apathy into malicious intent; they refused to advertise or notify anyone of IWA's existence.
  • TNA Impact and TNA Reaction aired on Bravo in the UK. That channel got bought out by Sky, who closed it down. As Sky already aired WWE, there was no room for TNA on their channels, so these two shows had been screwed into a No Export for You situation by the Sky network for a time until TNA was picked up by Challenge in February 2011.
    • Slight correction: Sky picked up Challenge alongside Bravo (and their actual targets, the Living TV series of networks), so this was probably a matter of reshuffling programs. Indeed, if anything this was a good thing for TNA, since Challenge was later added to Freeview, which was in the process of replacing traditional terrestrial television. In other words, TNA has gone from being only available to people who pay a subscription to being available on nearly every television in the UK.
    • TNA, as a television product, seems to be caught up in a complex mishmash of Screwed by the Network, Executive Meddling from said network, and their own bad decision making at any given time. For instance, Viacom and DirecTV having a squabble pulled Impact from the air. As Spike TV is owned by Viacom, and Impact was airing on that network, TNA lost viewership on the DirecTV side for a spell of two weeks.
      • There's also all the forced angles and/or shilling Spike tried to wedge onto Impact, because it was one of their highest rated shows and they could exploit that to push other stuff they air. An example can be found in the 2013 Tito Ortiz/Rampage Jackson storyline that was really only there to promote a fight in Bellator MMA.
      • Then, of course, there were the times TNA themselves were at fault. Such as when they moved Impact to Monday nights to try to run up against WWE Raw, when the ratings they pulled were nowhere close to being competitive. Or when Impact ended its run on Spike at the end of 2014 because, despite Spike executive mandate warning against it, the company chose to hire back Vince Russo. The flagrant disobedience caused Spike to pull any further contract renewal negotiations. Ironically, Impact would return to Spike in 2017, but it was the U.K. version that picked them up.
  • WWE's Saturday Morning Slam on The CW's Vortexx was a last ditch effort by The CW (after they had dropped SmackDown several years before) to continue business relationships with the WWE. It was significantly toned down compared to RAW and SmackDown in order to both appease the children's fanbase, despite WWE's primary audience being adult men, and meet The CW's strict TV-Y7 guidelines for its children's programming. The show was moderately successful despite this. When time came for contractual renewals, however, The CW tried to Re Tool the program into a WWE news magazine rather than the taped matches it had during its run. WWE, understandably, rejected The CW's debasing proposal, and the inability to come up with a compromise led to the plug being pulled after just one season.
  • Pro Wrestling NOAH itself lost its television deal in 2012 when it was revealed their management was working with a yakuza company, even after Counselor Haruka Eigen publicly demoted the members of management in question in an effort to save face.
  • In Canada, Lucha Underground got hit with this after it was picked up by Corus Entertainment's TLN. Perhaps owning to the show's seasonal format, TLN thought it was a good idea to air the show all the way back at season one, rather than premiere season two around the same time as El Rey Network in the United States. To be even more tedious, after originally airing the show on Sundays, TLN kept moving the show around its schedule. Throw in some limited advertising, and the fact that TLN is mostly geared to a general audience, and it was ensured that fans would stand a better chance of keeping up with the U.S broadcasts by sticking to illegal streams. More over, with Netflix streaming previous seasons of the show in Canada, there's no need for fans to put up with the network's poor treatment of the past seasons anyways. Around the time the fourth season premiered in the U.S, Lucha reruns were quietly moved to sibling Euro World Sport.
  • Of course, an individual wrestler getting screwed by a wrestling promoter is a tale as old as time in the business. The "Montreal Screwjob" has been talked about ad nauseam, but there have been plenty of other examples that weren't even the doing of Vincent K. McMahon, many of which led to the promoters screwing over themselves by wrecking their promotions in the process:
    • Hulk Hogan first rose to huge popularity in the AWA in the early 80s, but promoter Verne Gagne refused to put the championship on Hogan, claiming he “wasn’t a good enough athlete.” Hogan later claimed Gagne told him he would only make Hogan champ if Hogan gave him a cut of the money he was making independently in Japan. After being made to endure multiple screwjob finishes against champion Nick Bockwinkel, Hogan decided enough was enough, went to work for Vince McMahon, and the rest is history.
    • Kerry Von Erich was the golden boy of the Von Erich Family and their Texas-based WCCW promotion in the 80s. But he could never become world champion largely because of how much political clout Jim Crockett had in the NWA to keep the belt on his territory’s top man, Ric Flair.note  Numerous times in the early 80s, Kerry would face off against Flair only to be cheated out of the belt in some way. The NWA finally let him win the belt in May 1984 note  only to make him drop it back to Flair 18 days later. It ultimately led to the Von Erichs pulling their territory from the NWA and going solo – one of multiple moves that led to the NWA losing its power as a top wrestling organization.
    • Jerry Lawler may have been champion in the final years of the AWA, but even he was not immune to the meddling and screwing over from Verne Gagne. After the “unification” match at Superclash III in 1988 between Lawler and WCCW champion Kerry Von Erich ended in a controversial finish because neither promotion was willing to let their champ put over the other, the plan supposedly became for Lawler to buy WCCW from the Von Erichs with the help of Jerry Jarrett, and they would merge the titles eventually anyway. But then Gagne decided he didn’t want the AWA title merged at all and refused to pay Lawler (and multiple other wrestlers) what he was owed for the Superclash match. Lawler in turn refused to return the AWA belt he still had and continued to use it in his own promotion. Gagne made a new belt and gave it to Larry Zbyszko, but the fallout from Superclash destroyed all trust in him within the wrestling industry, and the AWA was out of operation by 1990.

  • Democracy Now! was infamously, albeit temporarily, screwed over by Pacifica Radio in the year 2000 after Pacifica executives suddenly fired key staffers in the middle of the night and made its flagship station WBAI adopt an all-jazz format at the expense of its talk programs. Amy Goodman and others, fearing that this decision would allow Network Decay to set in, left WBAI in protest and temporarily Channel Hopped to another station. After five months of negotiations, Pacifica management caved and allowed Amy and her staff to return in January 2002.
    • As of 2015, Pacifica Radio has been mired in public spats between presenters and executives over (among other things) promoting alt-med quackery and conspiracy theories; cutting hours and pay, and laying off some staffers, in violation of union rules; and failing to pay Amy Goodman an estimated $2.1 million in broadcast fees.
    • WBAI's very survival has been an issue for two decades. Several disparate studio locations, millions of dollars owed to the Empire State Building for not paying for their transmitter, and a whole 'too many cooks in the kitchen' issue where a simple sale of the frequency to someone else in exchange for a smaller-range signal is a no-go have exhausted most New Yorkers (and the radio community at large) so much, the end of WBAI would be a mercy killing to most.
  • Ronald Reagan's cuts to NPR's federal funding meant that the KUSC-FM radio play adaptation of Return of the Jedi got shelved for over a decade.

ESPN examples go here

  • In 1991, NBC broke away from the NHL All-Star Game (from 1990-1994, NBC broadcast the All-Star Game, which was the only time that the NHL was nationally broadcast on over-the-air television in the United States outside of ESPN's paid programming on ABC during the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons) in favor of a press conference from the Pentagon regarding the Gulf War. The previously unaired third period was rebroadcast on SportsChannel America. Unfortunately, SportsChannel America (who replaced ESPN as the NHL's primary cable broadcasting outlet in the United States in the 1988-89 season and continued through the 1991-92 season) was for all intents and purposes, a premium outlet that was available to about 1/4 less of the homes that ESPN was in at the time.
  • Versus/NBC Sports Network at times has had problems carrying games, but mainly due to cable company quirks. In 2005 a quadruple overtime game was cut off in some markets after 3am ET when infomercials provided by the cable provider kicked in; after that the network disallowed infomercial substitution in the future (along with most other networks). A May 2013 game airing on CNBC went unseen in the St. Louis market due to a switching problem. Other than that though, NBC and the NBC Sports Network have been downright kind compared to ESPN with the NHL.
  • Indy Car has had a similar path when Versus picked up the load for most (but not all) of its events starting in 2009: ratings have been substantially lower due to Versus simply not being a well-known network (plus the Executive Meddling by the channel's owner, Comcast) even though viewers agree that Versus gives much better treatment to the series as opposed to ABC/ESPN(2); however, the ABC-aired races in 2009 (the Indy 500 and several other summer events) hadn't had as drastic a dropoff as the cable races and started to put a bit more effort into the broadcasts. Of course, a lot of this stems from Tony George's own Executive Meddling that caused the American open-wheel racing split from 1996-2008.
    • With Versus re-branding as NBC Sports Network, becoming more established, and picking up Formula One racing too, IndyCar now has an open-wheeled companion on the schedule to draw more attention at least. But will this change when NASCAR returns to NBC?
    • As of 2019, NBC will carry the Indianapolis 500 and NBC/NBCSN will carry the series exclusively, and it has thankfully proven that NBCSN and NBC can handle both IndyCar and NASCAR without alienating either fanbase too badly, to the point the fandom was relieved the 500 (which was literally the only IndyCar ESPN gave any care about) also went to the Peacock.
  • The Arena Football League may be another one screwed by NBC. After the network lost its NFL games to CBS in 1997 and the 2001 XFL debacle, NBC signed what looked like a good deal with the Arena League at the time (both sides would split ad revenues 50/50 instead of one side getting rights fees). NBC even convinced the league to move up its normal Summer schedule, saying the league could be promoted better if it started the week after the Super Bowl. But when the NFL came calling back to NBC in 2006, the network promptly forgot about the Arena League, leaving it to play at a time of year where it had to compete with the NBA, NHL, and college basketball for viewership. After returning to ESPN, the league suspended operations for the 2009, reviving in 2010 with half the previous teams choosing not to come back with it (the league slots were filled by teams coming from AF2, a secondary arena football league). As of 2018, it's on CBS Sports Network, and contracted to the point it only has four teams owned by two people and is limited to the Northeast (with the playoffs featuring one 8-4 and two 7-5 teams feasting on a 2-10 Washington squad).
  • Major League Baseball screwed themselves with their short-sighted television deals back in the early 1990s. First and foremost, MLB signed a $1.2 billion (approximately) deal with CBS for the next four years. They replaced ABC (who had covered Monday and later Thursday night baseball games consecutively since 1976) and NBC (who had covered Major League Baseball in some shape or form since 1947) as the national, broadcast TV outlet for Major League Baseball. Once CBS came into the picture, Major League Baseball, under the leadership of then outgoing Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, proceeded to systematically destroy the Saturday afternoon Game of the Week (a longtime institution on NBC). CBS became notorious for their sporadic regular season scheduling (often airing golf events on weeks in place of baseball). MLB's logic was that since a myriad of games were going to air on ESPN, the concept of a nationally televised Game of the Week was growing obsolete. When the dust was settled, CBS (who by the end of 1993, had also lost the National Football League to Fox, the National Basketball Association to NBC, and college football) lost at least, half a billion dollars off of that baseball deal. Despite all of this, CBS was willing to renew their contact with MLB for two more years. Unfortunately, mid-way through the 1993 season, MLB was already working on a revenue sharing joint-venture with ABC and NBC called "The Baseball Network". The Baseball Network was even worse than what CBS had to offer (with ABC and NBC each covering six weeks of regionalized coverage following the All-Star Break). Without going into full blown detail (check the Wikpedia article on The Baseball Network to get a proper perspective) here, all that you need to know first and foremost, is that the first two rounds of the playoffs were regionally televised simultaneously. Perhaps the one positive thing to come out of the 1994-95 baseball strike, was that it hastened the premature demise of The Baseball Network (which was supposed to run through the 1999 season). Shortly afterwards, both ABC and NBC (who had to split coverage of the 1995 World Series) publicly vowed to have nothing more to do with Major League Baseball for at least the remainder of the 20th century. NBC however reluctantly (they could only be bothered to show postseason games and the All-Star Game in even numbered years) reconsidered and wound up sharing the broadcast rights with Fox through the end of the 2000 season.
    • Reluctantly is putting it mildly. When the 1997 World Series ended up being played by two small-market teams (Florida and Cleveland), NBC's West Coast head Don Ohlmeyer publicly declared that he hoped it would end in a four-game sweep, since even a fifth game would mean pre-empting his precious "Must See TV" Thursday lineup. (He didn't get his wish; the Series went the full seven games.)
  • In Australia, the Seven Network's screwing of the National Soccer League led to the competition eventually collapsing in 2004. The channel bought the rights for a pay television sports channel, but after they lost the rights to Australian Rules Football, they shut down the pay tv channel, and never bothered airing the soccer in any regular fashion, and never live. A highlight package after midnight on Wednesdays was the best the coverage got at times. A network slogan at the time was parodied with the phrase "Nobody screws soccer like Seven."
    • It is actually worse than simply 'shutting down the channel', the NSL was deliberately screwed over by the network. In a subsequent lawsuit over the failure of the pay tv channel, the network executives were exposed via emails showing that they were angry that the managers of Australian Rules Football were not giving them enough credit for buying the National Soccer League rights then burying the sport.
  • ONE HD's coverage of The National Basketball League games has fallen into this when it was announcing in October 2011 that all NBL games aired on One HD would be delayed which angered fans. One HD the following month announced that all NBL games would be delayed EVEN FURTHER to 1:00 AM-2:00 AM, Which pissed off more fans. NBL fans are now trying to boycott the channel.
  • Formula One has always had prime spots on the BBC since it's most loved in the UK, showing all the races and qualifying since the start (excusing the brief time it went to ITV (which meant there were adverts during the races)). From 2011 and 2018 only half of the races will be shown on the BBC whilst Sky Sports (a channel one would have to pay a lot for, including their television license) will show all the races and the qualifying. Within the first month a Sports site did a poll to find out people's reaction. Fifty per cent said they refused to watch the races on Sky.
    • In Brazil, Rede Globo broadcasts every race. A few still end up screwed, usually for overlapping with games of the Brazilian Soccer Championship (a particularly bad example was in a late race in 2012, when the champion had already been set in the field but not on the track, and Association Football still took priority over the cars), but in 2013 a race wasn't shown because of... the visit of Pope Francis!
  • Professional Bull Riders got screwed by the networks. Originally, full events were shown on Versus, but new licensing deals mean events are now shown on NBC, NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus), CBS, and the PBR's own streaming online broadcast site. Often a single event will be divided up between two of these outlets, making it extremely difficult for fans to keep track of. And in football season pray CBS doesn't have a game on in your market, or else PBR is pre-empted.
  • The Fan Nicknamed Heidi Bowl where, in November 1968, NBC broke away from the final minutes of a much-anticipated American Football League match up between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets to air Heidi, causing most fans to miss the Raiders' Miracle Rally. Ever since, it's been network policy not to break away from a live sporting event. At least until 2007 (see the NHL entry above).
  • Quite a few old guard racing fans feel North Wilkesboro Speedway, the very first NASCAR-sanctioned racetrack, was screwed out of both its NASCAR Cup race dates in 1995. Bruton Smith was building a big new speedway in North Texas, but NASCAR was adamantly refusing to add races to the schedule to accommodate the new track. So he bought up the share of Wilkesboro owned by the Combs family, supposedly claiming he planned to keep the place open by expanding its capacity and using it for a primetime mid-week race while only giving up its spring date to Texas. But his purchase drove the Staley family (whose patriarch and track founder, Enoch, had died that May) to sell their share in the track to New Hampshire Speedway owner Bob Bahre. With that, New Hampshire got Willkesboro’s fall race while Texas got its spring date beginning in 1997. However, others associated with the sport have justified the move, citing Wilkesboro’s lack of modern facilities (the press box still used rotary phones, according to journalists) and the high risk-low reward of racing there given its small purse and toll the short track put on racecars.
  • Not a sports example technically, but NBC shot down Poker After Dark, a late-night broadcast of poker games sponsored by online casino company Full Tilt Poker, without any warning or hints. While some pin the show's cancellation on declining ratings, fueled in part by affiliates refusing to broadcast the program over their anti-gambling policies, the real culprit was when sponsors Full Tilt were caught in a federal criminal investigation over charges of money laundering and setting up Ponzi schemes on its customers. NBC, desperate to clean their hands off the matter, promptly replaced Poker After Dark with a repeat of the fourth hour of Today, not telling the press about the matter or anyone who worked on the telecasts that they would be dropped by the network. Sister cable network NBC Sports Network began airing reruns of Poker After Dark following its re-branding from Versus in 2012, eventually broadcast the unaired episodes of the show's final season, and continued airing repeats of the series on midnights for a couple of years before it disappeared forever.
  • Televisión Española was showing Severiano Ballesteros' run in the US Masters when it suddenly decided to cut off the signal to a horse race... which lasted through Ballesteros winning the tournament.
  • The National Football League's contracts with its media partners can cause networks to postpone or pre-empt programming of their own in order to air football games in case of postponements or emergencies from the NFL. For instance, NBC originally scheduled an episode of the Dateline news program about the Ross Harris trial for January 15, 2017, but two days before airing, an ice storm in Kansas City caused the delay of a Kansas City-Pittsburgh Steelers game that day to prime-time. Because of NBC's contractual obligations to the NFL (though NBC certainly wasn't turning down a high-rated playoff game airing in primetime rather than in the afternoon), it had to air a couple weeks later (it aired the same night on the West Coast, but mainly as primetime filler).
  • Many fans and players on the Houston Astros feel MLB Commissioner Bud Selig screwed them out of a chance to make the postseason in 2008. Hurricane Ike displaced an Astros home series with the Chicago Cubs; rather than postpone the games or relocate them to a closer venue (the Texas Rangers' park, just 240 miles from Houston, was available at the time), Selig ordered 2 of the 3 games (the third would be played in Houston at season's end IF needed to determine a playoff spot) to be played as scheduled but moved to Miller Park in Milwaukee (a team he formerly owned), just 90 miles from Chicago - essentially turning it into a road series for the Astros even though they were still officially the home team (in times where the Brewers aren't doing good and the Cubs are doing well, Miller Park takes on the derisive nickname "Wrigley Field North" as Cubs fans take advantage of cheaper Milwaukee tickets to see their team; without any Brewers fans to deal with, Cubs fans easily filled the stadium). The Astros lost both games (including being no-hit by Carlos Zambrano in the first game) and proceeded to drop out of the playoff hunt. Numerous players finished the year wearing shirts under their jerseys that read "Bud Screwed Our Season."
  • In 2018, FOX Sports elected not to renew its broadcasting contract with Ultimate Fighting Championship, set to expire at the end of the year, in favor of WWE SmackDown beginning in October 2019. Although a common reasoning for the snub was that the UFC was asking for more money Fox that wasn't willing to pay, the real culprit was Fox undergoing a major shakeup as it spun off its entertainment properties and deciding to focus more on live programming and sports. A former Fox staffer told The Hollywood Reporter that Fox simply walked away from UFC, believing that there was no way it could market UFC due to its more adult-oriented fanbase, whereas WWE was geared more towards family audiences. ESPN, who had just installed Jimmy Pitaro as President, quickly jumped in and took the contract away from Fox, adding to the contract that they had already drafted for their newly-released streaming service. Said contract is set to go into effect in January 2019.

    Tabletop Games 
  • At the heyday of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition in the 1990s, TSR had Lorraine Williams as their CEO, who made no secret her disdain both for gamers and the people that worked under her. Among many things that caused Dungeons & Dragons and TSR to be run into the ground before being mercifully bought out by Wizards of the Coast were:
    • Suing people left and right, including people who ran message boards for talking about Dungeons & Dragons on the internet on the basis that it was their intellectual property. This prevented new people from discovering the game through Internet word-of-mouth, gave their competitors who were using the new medium to promote their products an edge, and disenchanted fans.
    • Lorraine Williams devoted a great deal of company resources to publishing and promoting Buck Rogers XXVC, as the heiress whose estate owned the rights to the Buck Rogers IP got royalties for every Buck Rogers supplement published and sold. That heiress? Lorraine Williams.
    • TSR's solution to declining sales was to publish new settings. The problem was that the settings, modules, and rules that governed them were so incompatible with each other that the player base became fragmented. For instance, a Planescape fan would have no use for modules meant for the Birthright setting.
    • Licensing terrible games, with Baldur's Gate being a notable exception and becoming the string holding the franchise together. It probably could have gotten more people into the hobby if message boards about the game didn't have to censor comments about the tabletop version for fear of lawsuits.
    • Nepotism ran rampant in the company, which resulted in unqualified managers.
    • Game designers were often forbidden by Williams to use company time to play test products, on the reasoning that playtesting was just an excuse for the peasants to get paid to play games.
    • Jeff Grubb as one of their top designers had something to say about this. Especially nice here are #19A "going into competition with our own licensees was a bit of a tradition at TSR" and #20 "went to my Vice President and asked why an employee was doing outside work for another company that they didn't like anymore". So bad that everyone who didn't already know they're jerks was in for it and that well-aimed bureaucratic obfuscation was the only way to get things done at all?
  • Alternity was a generic RPG produced by TSR in last few years of their operations. And was already used as a source of "how to improve xD&D mess" ideas. When WOTC took over in 2000, they killed the system and cannibalized the settings into their d20 modern line so that it didn't compete against it.
  • The most common complaints against Games Workshop for their Warhammer 40,000 release schedule is that Space Marine armies always take precedence over non-Marine armies. The main Space Marine book has always been one of the first books updated in every edition change, while other armies have been languishing in Development Hell for almost as long as a decade.
    • An interesting subversion to the Codex: Space Marines are First trend is in 6th Edition. Chaos Space Marines were the first to arrive, followed by Dark Angels (subfaction of Space Marines) and the alien Tau race and then the Chaos Daemons, all before Space Marines. Still, it's no less than two Space Marine derivative armies to mark the 6th edition.
    • In 2014, Dark Elder got their second new codex since their initial debut in 3rd edition, having received their 6th edition codex after a whopping ten years without an update. And in 7e, they got majorly screwed, with the codex being ripped to shreds to provide fodder for two codexes (Dark Elder and Haemonculus Coven) and roughly two thirds of their special characters, including long-runner Asdrubael Vect, getting pruned from the codex. This has led to a huge backlash from the fans.
    • The Sisters of Battle has almost become a meme on how forgotten and mistreated their faction is, despite having one of the most vocal fanbases. Generally, they are portrayed as bystanders at best in any stories that have them, while being cannon fodder at worst. Like the Inquisition, they received a bare-bones codex update that brought them in line with the new rules, but only a digital release and no new units or models. Speaking of new models, they're forgotten for so long that their last model was from 3rd edition. Their newest codex was released in 6th. On top of that, they've also lost models from the range; the Dialogus and Immolator no longer have models that you can purchase legitimately; you'll have to either convert them on your own, buy second hand or resort to third-party vendors. The irony of the whole situation is that the Sisters of Battle is one of the few largely original IP Games Workshop still has but it's one of the least defended ones (which is saying something, since they defend their IP like EA does).
  • CCP's financial troubles in 2011, largely clustered around expensive microtransactions and an incomplete Incarna expansion to EVE Online, resulted in nearly 20% of the company's staff being laid off, including a number of people working at White Wolf, who they'd entered a business partnership with in 2006. Close to the same time, the general market for tabletop games and traditionally published works hit a major downturn, and WW made the transition from traditional print to PDF and publish-on-demand in order to stay afloat. One of the WW staffers, Rich Thomas, set up his own tabletop RPG company, Onyx Path, and licensed or bought most of WW's properties from CCP.
    • Exalted 2e also had an issue with the network screwing its writing staff. The game's already touchy mechanics are unforgiving to poorly-written Charms or Artifacts, and at least one freelancer was hired early in development without having access to the basic combat system rules. The Second Edition Sidereals' author didn't have enough time with the new mechanics to understand the importance of Keywords. Another author — reliably and consistently unnamed by Holden Shearer, the poor man who had to take the resulting hatemail — was responsible for several poorly written charms, including the terribad Solar Charms in Dreams of the First Age, and remained on the mechanics team until Scroll of Fallen Races, which at one point explained the functioning of a keyword, then failed to include any powers that actually used said keyword.
      • Exalted also had problems due to the network not bothering to enforce any kind of consistency or make the writers talk to each other. Numerous books displayed a staggering lack of internal consistency, with Infernals being split exactly down the middle between "Infernals are evil bastards with few to no redeeming features" and "Infernals are messed-up and damaged people, but while their stuff may usually look evil, they're not actually evil in application, so long as you direct them at people worse than you".


    Theme Parks 

Disney Theme Parks

  • In 2005, Disney, J. K. Rowling and Warner Bros. were in negotiations to create a Harry Potter theme park in Singapore. Around that time, then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who was the main architect of the negotiations, was fired and replaced with Bob Iger, who had little care for Harry Potter and significantly downsized the project to just a single ride, where guests could shoot at screens with interactive wands. Naturally, Rowling rejected Disney's plans and the negotiations broke down. Warner and Rowling eventually got better treatment when they went to Universal Studios, who proceeded to create The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which became a major threat for Disney's place in the Orlando theme park market in the years that followed.
  • The closure of Disneyland's iconic PeopleMover in 1995 was part of an attempt to revamp Tomorrowland (which, in reality, was more or less a replication of their Paris park's "Discoveryland"), the attraction's residing area. Its replacement, Rocket Rods, was marred with mechanical issues, and park-goers ravaged the ride for its constant breakdowns and potential damage to the PeopleMover structure it utilized. The ride closed just two years in operation, from 1998 to 2000. It is today regarded as one of Disney's biggest failures in amusement park history, and it's telling by Disney's refusal to acknowledge its existence.
  • Journey Into Imagination was closed in 1998 despite it being the park's most popular attraction due to sponsorship issues. A year before the closing, Fujifilm, the rival of the ride's original sponsor, Kodak, wanted to turn the ride into a rollercoaster unrelated to the original concept. Kodak did not want to lose their sponsorship, so they wanted to make a cheaper version of the ride focused more on the science behind imagination. Disney accepted the latter company's idea and reopened the ride in 1999. Visitors did not like how the ride removed Dreamfinder and Figment (though he did have cameos during the constellation scene and at the end of the ride) and felt it was nothing but a tie-in to Honey, I Shrunk The Audience by theming it around the Imagination Institute. They also felt that the new Image Works after the ride was nothing but an ad for Kodak's products. After Disney heard all these complaints, they shut down the ride and revamped it again to be about Figment ruining an open house tour of the Imagination Institute, which recieved mixed reception and is viewed nowadays as a ride that you either like or a ride that you don't like at all. The revamp was eventually made pointless in 2010, when Kodak decided to drop sponsorship of the ride anyway despite spending all the years prior trying to keep it.

Universal Studios

  • The Creature of the Black Lagoon stage show in Universal Studios Hollywood had its run cut short when the theater it was housed in caught fire and was forced to close. An investigation revealed Universal rarely cared about the theater's condition and ignored multiple safety violations. As a result, Universal was forced to revamp the theater, and a year worth of millions of dollars later, the refreshed and much-more successful Special Effects Stages opened in the theater.
  • Despite its popularity, the Hollywood version of Terminator 2 3-D: Battle Across Time was shuttered so that Universal could make a clone of Florida's Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. It's possible Universal wanted to cut licensing fees for the Terminator franchise (which is not owned by Universal) while increasing the value of their own IP, so while the Japan and Florida rides (their two bigger markets) remained, the Hollywood ride wasn't very lucky.
  • Universal Studios Florida closed The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera and Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies in 2002 and 2003 respectively, citing lower attendance for both attractions despite being the most popular with Universal enthusiasts. Their respective replacements? Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast and Shrek Four D, two of the most polarizing rides the park had ever opened (not helped by the fact that Universal had little to no involvement in either ride's development), and ended up laying the groundwork for the park's drive toward intellectual property-driven attractions. While Neutron was eventually shuttered to make way for Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem in 2012, to the rejoice of many, the Shrek 4-D ride remains to this day. The attractions ended up serving as examples of everything wrong with Universal during its decade-long Dork Age.
  • The Shrek Four D attraction at the Hollywood park got its queue and pre-show screwed in 2015 when Universal decided to add a real-time Donkey animatronic interact with the guests in the queue. Many complained over how annoying it was, and were caught off by the truncated pre-show with no backstory whatsoever.

    Web Original 
  • Because it uses footage from the anime, YouTube bots have infamously taken down episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series over a dozen times.
  • The Nostalgia Critic was pulled from YouTube due to numerous copyright claims where the show continued on and That Guy with the Glasses. It's (officially) back on YouTube though.
    • The above scenarios have gotten so bad that "Where's The Fair Use?" has become popular on YouTube, due to there being zero repercussions for those that file a false claim, while those targeted by such claims have to deal with headache upon headache, including lost revenue and possibly losing their channel.
      • Several Channel Awesome contributors (including JesuOtaku) saw their accounts lost in the great Blip purge of 2014.
      • The worst one of late was when Team Four Star lost their channel due to receiving 4 strikes in a short time period over Dragon Ball Z Abridged, which at least had the Approval of God from Funimation, the current North America licenses holder to the franchise.
    • Channel Awesome itself is guilty of this, which has repeatedly bitten them in the ass:
      • Obscurus Lupa's story of her departure reeks of this. First, CEO Mike Michaud (and later Doug Walker) ripped into Lupa for putting extra midroll ads into her videos, saying that it was hurting everyone else by making people use AdBlock, even though she needed the midrolls to pay her bills. Then, Mike and Rob Walker forbade Lupa and the other reviewers from promoting their Patreon pages until a bad PR incident involving Suede forced them to relent. Finally, Mike and Doug tried to chat with Lupa while she was away from her computer and didn't know they wanted to speak to her, and waited fifteen minutes. When she got in touch, they told her she would be let go and have her videos removed for "ignoring them." The move clearly backfired as it caused Phelous and Andrew Dickman to leave the site in protest. Kyle Kallgren also left about the same time, but for unrelated reasons.
      • Mike "The Birdman" Dodd was dropped from That Guy with the Glasses without being told, and he only found out about it a few weeks later when he tried to submit a new video to the site. This appears to have happened to Benzaie as well, as none of his videos were moved from the old TGWTG site to the new Channel Awesome site.
      • T.J. Kincaid (The Distressed Watcher) claims that he started to get this treatment after Mike Ellis left the company. According to him, all of his new videos were pushed to the bottom of the upload feed, despite him being one of the more popular producers on the site, which led him to start to lose interest in making content. It came to a head when his "Gayest Music Videos of the 1980s" video was rejected - he initially thought that the channel heads had mistaken it for being homophobic, but was later told that it wasn't uploaded because Channel Awesome thought their audience would be too homophobic to accept it. Shortly after, he was called into a meeting with the company heads who told him that they'd be letting him go because they were afraid that his YouTube alter-ego (The Amazing Atheist) would scare off potential advertisers to their site.
      • A document of stories from former staff and producers, released in April 2018, brought to light that this was and is a much more common occurrence than was previously known. A particularly egregious example detailed is Dr. Gonzo's ordeal, in which he was isolated from the rest of the TGWTG contributors by Michaud and was subsequently singled out for Michaud's gaslighting and abuse. Michaud also dismissed Gonzo's idea for the tribute show for JewWario following his suicide, reportedly telling him: "Nobody knows who you are. They won't care about anything you're gonna put together. We're gonna have Doug or Lewis or someone put something together. Someone people actually come here to see." Though it's likely the sexual assault allegations against JewWario, which the site management was keeping secret on his victim's request, played a role in this. Gonzo's show was abruptly and unceremoniously erased from the website during TGWTG's transition to Channel Awesome.
      • According to the same document, MarzGurl was also targeted by Michaud. After she took Linkara's suggestion of starting her own channel on the now-defunct Blip, Michaud berated her for doing so without his permission, and only backed off after she apologized profusely and told him that Lewis had done the same thing. He repeatedly mislabeled her videos when they were posted on TGWTG, and attacked her again when she explained one miscommunication to confused viewers, accusing her of trying to make him look bad. He also frequently neglected to post her videos across TGWTG's social media platforms, giving her the impression that he was trying to make her "invisible" on the site and compel her to quit. When she did leave in September 2017, all of her videos were unceremoniously erased despite her nine-year contribution to the site.
  • Tired of not appearing on television, WWE Superstar Zack Ryder made a YouTube show called Z! True Long Island Story. It became so popular, that Zack Ryder became one of the most talked about personalities in wrestling at the time. He got tons of merchandise, and WWE was forced to turn him face and he would go on to win the United States Championship. Even a co-star, The Big O ended up appearing on TNA Impact as a Gutcheck participant. This all came to an end however when Zack Ryder moved his show to the official WWE channel. The company then proceeded to constantly edit and reject his episodes, causing them to be missing scenes that the WWE found would not be good for the company's image. There was so much Executive Meddling that Zack Ryder would constantly take to Twitter to explain why every other episode had long delays in uploading by WWE's constant rejections. Zack Ryder was no longer motivated to even do the show anymore, but WWE forced him to continue until it finally ended after 100 episodes.

  • Played with by AMC regarding Knoxville-based Windsor Square 7, a Cinemark acquisition inherited from Carmike. The cinema has not once been renovated since the Cinemark days, meaning the very '80s color scheme of the interiors remains to this day, but, proving Tropes Are Not Bad, the now-dated, tacky, and shabby interior look has been taking on a "vintage" appeal for having had to be put up with by more modern moviegoers for a long while.
  • This trope is the reason Apple created its own retail stores. One of the problems compounding the company's Dork Age in The '90s was a lack of attractive displays in stores. Retailers devoted floor space to more popular (and profitable) PCs instead of Macs, usually relegating them to a corner of the store, if they sold them at all. They also often left the machines turned off, crashed, or set them up without a mouse, leading to an unfavorable first impression with potential buyers. The fluorescent lighting also didn't help, helping show off the various PC beige boxes, but doing no favors for Apple's machines. Apple stores were created to give Macs and other Apple products an aesthetically pleasing showcase. Apple has since gone back to selling their products in major retailers, though they insist on its products on being presented on specialized displays.
  • Jumbo Pictures, producer of many fine Nickelodeon and Disney cartoons and shows, can be said to have been screwed by both Disney and Nickelodeon. The company started out producing Slice of Life puppet shows like Gullah Gullah Island and Allegra's Window, and animated shows like Doug for Nickelodeon. However Nickelodeon started showing less interest in educational values and more towards generic slapstick as time went on, and Jumbo's terms with Nick started degrading. Disney then made them dump Nick and subsequently bought them over. So far so good, right? After Disney's version of Doug, Jojos Circus and PB&J Otter, Disney went against their wishes and used some of their characters in a music video that aired on multiple children's channels entitled "We Are Family: A Musical Message for All". They've broke up with Disney and renamed themselves Cartoon Pizza, although their only success since then was Pinky Dinky Doo, done in partnership with Sesame Workshop.
  • Polygram Home Video did this to two of their kids' properties: The Crayon Box and The Noddy Shop. Both were supposed to be released on home video. The Crayon Box's releases were cancelled for unexplained reasons, but the Public Service Announcement based on the poem still appeared on other Polygram releases. The Noddy Shop, however, only had the Noddy's Toyland Adventures segments released, which hurt the sales of the videos and may have played a role in the show not being renewed for a third season, as the live-action segments in The Noddy Shop were the most popular among the target audience.
  • Regal Entertainment Group is doing this to Downtown West 8 in Knoxville, Tennessee, where it is headquartered. When one moviegoer complained about having to go all the way to Asheville, North Carolina, just to see Pina in 3D, Regal's official excuse was that 3D was too expensive to install in Downtown West 8.

In-Universe Examples:

  • American Flagg!: Reuben Flagg, star of the hit series Mark Thrust, Sexus Ranger loses his job to his own CGI Tromplographic™ duplicate, then gets drafted into the actual Plexus Rangers.
  • Lampshaded In-Universe in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
    Hobbes: We can't stay here forever? What if Red Dwarf: The Movie comes out while we're trapped here?
    Calvin: Pfft! As if.
  • The Mr. Potato Head Show: happens often, with the TV executives changing their minds about things in the middle of filming an episode of Mr. Potato Head's Show Within a Show, such as telling them that their superhero episode needs to be educational or a musical.
  • Seinfeld: Jerry and George had been pushing for a long time to get their "show about nothing" approved by NBC. Finally, their first episode is aired and is successful. However, at the same time, the head executive who had approved the show goes AWOL and is replaced by a vindictive woman who cancels the show out of spite.
  • The Splinter: The network in charge of the games in the Realm has zero problems with killing players for the sake of boosting ratings and creating drama. Dying in the game means you die in real life. It's tough to get screwed harder than that.
  • In Toy Story 2, Stinky Pete claims the Woody's Roundup TV show was cancelled in the middle of a cliffhanger when space toys surged (and, consequently, Woody's Roundup toys declined) in popularity following the launch of Sputnik. He lied. Eagle-eyed viewers might be able to spot the conclusion to said cliffhanger playing in the background in one scene. Perhaps not coincidentally, it's the same scene where Pete reveals he's a villain.
  • In The Amy Virus, the teenage singer Amy Zander is forced by her label to record a song she hates. When she can't get it right, the label drops her and gets another girl to record it, and Amy herself falls into obscurity

Alternative Title(s): Screwed By The Studio