PopSugar Loses TV Show, Says It Has Others in the Works

By Sahil Patel

“PopSugar Now,” a daily entertainment news program from women’s lifestyle publisher PopSugar and Pop TV (formerly the TV Guide Network), has been canceled, VideoInk has learned from a source familiar with the plans.

With the cancellation, PopSugar has also laid off 14 employees associated with the series, including 10 staffers in Los Angeles and a small video team based in New York, said the source.

The decision comes after the series struggled to find an audience on TV, which had more to do with the larger trends around who’s watching television today than anything about the show itself, according to David Grant, president of PopSugar Studios, which produced “PopSugar Now.”

In a memo to staff sent by Grant and obtained by VideoInk, Grant said that Pop TV/TVGN loved the series, and that it had “the look and feel we aspire to have as a network.”

The problem? “The median age of Pop TV (TVGN’s new name) viewers remains 50+ while we target millennials. Also, the TV industry has experienced a precipitous decline in millennial viewers as they continue their migration online. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine our savvy audience waiting to watch today’s pop culture’s events at 6pm tomorrow, in linear fashion.”

Popsugar cancels PopsugarNOW

As a result, “PopSugar Now” is being discontinued, with the final episode airing tonight, according to our source.

It’s an unfortunate end to a series that started on the web in 2013 as “PopSugar Live,” which was delivered through PopSugar’s video platform. It was picked up as a daily TV series by TVGN in January 2014, with the hope of helping TVGN launch a competitive offering to daily celebrity-driven news programming from TV networks such as NBCUniversal’s E!. In total, the series ran for more than 300 episodes.

While a setback, Grant is still optimistic about PopSugar’s other video efforts, including the content it produces for its online and social platforms. “We are eager to double down and get back to making trending, shareable online pop culture video for millennials to complement our lifestyle efforts,” he said.

PopSugar also has a few other TV projects in the works. “Our ability to produce ‘PS Now’ has given us solid credibility in the TV space. We are working with William Morris Endeavor and at least a half-dozen top-flight production companies which are eager to partner with us on the projects,” added Grant.

One such project is a pilot deal with Fox to make a “daily show about social media.”

Here is the full memo:

“As most of you know by now, POPSUGAR and Pop TV have decided not to continue POPSUGAR Now after Q1.
This show has a unique history. It started out in February 2013 as POPSUGAR LIVE, one of the first, daily live long form web shows. We produced it entirely with our homegrown cast and crew. In November, 2013, TVGN’s new creative team saw the show, loved it and promptly licensed it for a daily 6PM time slot with the online cast and crew intact — another first. We launched as POPSUGAR NOW in January 2014 and ran for over 300 episodes. Network executives called the show “creatively outstanding” saying it had “the look and feel we aspire to have as a network.”
However, the reality is that the median age of Pop TV (TVGN’s new name) viewers remains 50+ while we target millennials. Also, the TV industry has experienced a precipitous decline in millennial viewers as they continue their migration to online. Honestly, its hard to imagine our savvy audience waiting to watch today’s pop culture’s events at 6pm tomorrow, in linear fashion.
In trying to make a TV show that served an older TV audience with day-old content, our online pop culture efforts lost momentum. Even so, we have made huge progress in optimizing our video for social/mobile platforms, and our online video views, driven by increases in lifestyle content, are seeing massive growth — 230% over the past year alone. So we are eager to double down and get back to making trending, shareable online pop culture video for millennials to complement our lifestyle efforts.
That said, we are by no means abandoning TV! Our ability to produce PS Now has given us solid credibility in the TV space. We are working with William Morris Endeavor and at least a half-dozen top-flight production companies which are eager to partner with us on new projects. As just one example, we just signed a deal with Fox to pilot a daily show about social media (cast-contingent). So stay tuned!