Television is changing. Not only are streaming services changing the way audiences take in a season and the way a story can be told, but the ways in which shows are renewed may be changing as well. For example, though Season 2 of I'm Dying Up Here technically in the works, Showtime is doing something a little different with their process.
The drama series about stand-up comedy is based on a nonfiction book by William Knoedelseder and executive produced by Jim Carrey. Season 1 introduced the hardscrabble, incestuous world of the comedy club scene in '70s Los Angeles. The Season 1 finale episode will air Aug. 13.
According to Deadline, an official decision regarding I'm Dying Up Here Season 2 is pending. “We’ve hired the core group of writers from last season to spend a few weeks in the room together to generate some story ideas,” Showtime programming president Gary Levine said. “We expect them to come back to us at the end of the month with thoughts of where Season 2 could go. With that information we’re going to make a decision.” So, no pressure for those writers. Only the future of the series depends on their brainstorming and outlining session.
Is this a new normal? You'll often hear TV writers and showrunners talk about their ideas for future seasons that are up in the air. However, this feels a little more formal and more like a test than standard procedure. Deadline additionally noted that I'm Dying Up Here did not have a particularly large audience and is the lowest-rated series currently on Showtime.
Traditionally, network shows that air new seasons in the fall have writers staffed during March or April of that year. Being a summer series, I'm Dying Up Here would have a slightly different timeline. In an article for ScriptMag, TV Writer Eric Haywood detailed that process. He explained that because it's so early in the year, a writers room can be assembled before a new show is picked up. So while Showtime's decision feels unorthodox, it's not out of the question.
All that said, what this means is that there is definitely more story to be told on I'm Dying Up Here, Showtime is not giving up easily, and that the decision about a renewal should come from the network shortly.