Why They Could Not Say ‘Don’t’ When the Game Show Got Canceled — A Look Back At the ABC Show
When ABC's new game show Don't released its trailer on April 30, 2020, followers were elated for two significant reasons — the show was produced by Hollywood's heartthrob Ryan Reynolds and hosted by the outstanding actor Adam Scott.
The trailer enticed viewers with its comedy take on using the word "don’t" when the participants are forced to do the task. And Reynold's Deadpool-sassy narration became the icing on the cake.
One fellow viewer commented, "Love Ryan Reynolds and Adam Scott is good actor. Looking forward to this game show!" Another added, "This is gonna be fun."
The anticipated show premiered on ABC on June 11, 2020. It featured Reynolds's disembodied voice providing hilarious commentary on every step throughout the episodes.
As for the participant, a family, usually in-laws or cousins in a group of four, navigates through the challenges to win money. Unfortunately, despite the engaging gameplay and contribution from A-list actors, the family game show didn't prosper as expected.
'Don't' Got Canceled after Season 1
'Don't' wrapped up its first season after the last episode aired on August 13, 2020. However, on April 7, 2021, TVLine reported that the broadcasting company canceled it after season 1.
In place of its summer slate, ABC ran other shows such as The Hustle, The $100,000 Pyramid, Celebrity Family Feud, and To Tell the Truth.
As Don't didn't return for season 2, two significant factors can be attributed to its cancelation — low viewership and a complex game format.
As per the aforementioned report of TVLine, Don't couldn't amass the needed audience despite garnering a decent fanbase. In its three-month run from June to August, the family stunt show averaged 3 million weekly viewers.
As for the demo rating, it secured 0.6 percent in Live plus same-day numbers. The program ranked fourth among all the game shows ABC aired in 2020 summer, beating Match Game and To Tell the Truth.
However, it landed last regarding the total audience, which could be the ultimate reason ABC axed the show before its second season.
Complex Game Format
Another factor that probably caused the show's low audience, leading to its cancelation, could be the complex game format of the show. Decider's Joel Keller, in his review, mentioned how all the challenges in the show had a 'Don't' before its name. But the use of that word varied in every episode.
If participants ignored the 'Don't' warning and completed the challenges, they could earn a prize in one episode. But, in another episode, participants could lose money if they followed the warning. Keller stressed the gameplay was anything but simple.
It doesn’t matter if you’re there to go for a tense, exciting game or you’re going for laughs; if the gameplay isn’t simple to follow, you lose viewers.
Other than the game's dynamic nature, Keller complained about the program's slow pace, saying some games were filled with lots of pauses for chatting. But, besides criticism, the writer admitted that the show excelled at making its audience laugh.