Television viewers that were alive during the 1980s will likely be very familiar with Dynasty. The primetime soap opera ran for nine seasons on the ABC network before eventually cancelled in 1989. Over the course of the decade, the show became one of the most popular shows on television. However, there were many reasons that the network decided nine seasons was enough. Join Facts Verse as we explore why Dynasty cancelled after nine seasons.
Dynasty was a primetime soap opera that began airing on the ABC network on January 12, 1981. The series created by the husband and wife duo of Richard and Esther Shapiro. And produced by television mogul Aaron Spelling. The show centered around Blake Carrington and his new wife, Krystle. Blake was an oil magnate with a vast estate, residing in the town of Denver, Colorado. Actor John Forsythe played Blake, while actress Linda Evans played Krystle. A few seasons into the series, Blake’s ex-wife, Alexis, became one of the main antagonists of the show. Actress Joan Collins played the character of Alexis, who often butted heads with her ex-husband and the woman that replaced her as his wife.
Before Joan Collins brought on to portray series antagonist Alexis, Dynasty was focused more around the oil business. The first season of the show focused on Blake’s dealings with rival oil magnates. While later seasons became more interested in his love and family life. This came as a result of the producers realizing that audiences were simply more interested in what was going on in Blake’s bedroom than they were in what was going on in his office. Once the producers realized this. They brought Alexis on to stir up some familial and romantic conflicts and the ratings truly took off. However, the success of the show wasn’t going to last forever, as ratings began to dip again in later seasons. Join Facts Verse as we explore why Dynasty cancelled after nine seasons.
Though the ratings for Dynasty’s first season weren’t incredibly impressive. The show took off quickly after the introduction of Blake’s ex-wife. Once the producers realized what television audiences wanted from the program, they turned the heat up. Dynasty subsequently became one of the top 10 shows on television by the fall of 1982. Following this accomplishment, the show would slowly but steadily rise up the ranks to become the No. 1 show on all of network television by the spring of 1985.
When coming up with the increasingly scandalous dramatic plots that they put their characters through. The writers of Dynasty turned to a classic 1934 novel about the Roman empire. That novel was I, Claudius, and it has also proved a big inspiration for author George R. R. Martin when writing his similarly scandalous series Game of Thrones. Join Facts Verse as we explore why Dynasty cancelled after nine seasons.
Once the writers of Dynasty realized that the audience wanted scandal. They began turning up the heat more and more when coming up with the show’s plots. After the series peaked in popularity during 1985, the plots became increasingly ludicrous and convoluted. Part of this coincided with the introduction of spin-off series The Colbys, which centered around the family of the same name. Alongside Alexis, the Colbys had been some of the main antagonists on the show up until that point. They were a rival oil family that often engaged in conflict with Blake and his wife.
After Dynasty’s fifth season, The Colbys launched. The show began airing in the fall of 1985, though it cancelled after only two seasons. After the show cancelled in 1987, the characters that had left to appear on it brought back to Dynasty. However, Dynasty didn’t have much steam left in it’s engine at that point, and was going to have aired it’s final episode by the end of the 1980s.
By 1988, Dynasty had dropped to No. 41 in the ratings. Given that the show had No. 1 only a few years previously, this drop viewed as devastating by the show’s network and producers. The eighth season had followed Blake’s attempts to become the governor of Colorado, though his attempts proved as unsuccessful as the show was proving in the ratings. The finale ended on a cliffhanger, though it was doubtful that many were going to return for the next season’s premiere to see it’s conclusion. Join Facts Verse as we explore why Dynasty cancelled after nine seasons.
During it’s ninth and final season, Dynasty had fallen all the way down to No. 69 in the ratings. As a result, ABC canceled the show. The final episode of the show aired on May 11, 1989. The writers were unaware that the episode was going to be the show’s last. Because of this, the series finale ended on a cliffhanger, with many of the show’s main characters in great danger. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! As well, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Although many Dynasty fans had jumped ship by the time that the show aired it’s final episode on May 11, 1989, there were still a few fans that had stuck around. Those fans understandably perturbed once they realized that there wasn’t going to be a conclusion to the cliffhanger that the show’s final episode had ended on. Likewise, Richard and Esther Shapiro unhappy with the fact that they had not gotten to satisfactorily conclude their saga. Join Facts Verse as we explore why Dynasty cancelled after nine seasons.
When ABC realized that there was interest in seeing the cliffhanger of Dynasty’s final episode resolved, they announced that they were going to make a two-part miniseries that would give the show a more satisfactory ending. Many of the show’s cast members brought back for the miniseries, including John Forsythe, Joan Collins, and Heather Locklear. As well, Richard and Esther Shapiro brought back to have creative control. The miniseries called Dynasty: The Reunion. It filmed in the first half of 1991, and aired in the fall. Though the miniseries brought in over 20 million viewers, many critics felt that it didn’t live up to the standard of the original show. Still, it deemed a much more satisfactory ending than the cliffhanger had been, and fans were content.
As Dynasty grew farther from it’s No. 1 spot after it’s 1985 season, the show began to suffer budget cuts. The show had previously featured lavish production design that cost tens of thousands of dollars per episode. Lush floral arrangements were brought in for filming, needing to replaced routinely. Join Facts Verse as we explore why Dynasty cancelled after nine seasons.
In addition to the lavish set, the cast also often adorned in expensive outfits and jewelry. Given that Dynasty meant to follow wealthy oil magnates, it made sense that so much of the show’s budget went towards it’s look and atmosphere. However, those hefty budgets became unreasonable once ratings started dwindling in later seasons. Once the budget cut, the lush floral arrangements had to replaced with fake flowers made from silk that didn’t have to replaced as often. Still, the cast continued appearing in expensive clothes and jewelry up until the show’s final episodes, with the more expensive pieces of jewelry coming on loan from Tiffany & Co.
Fans began to idolize the Dynasty characters for their taste in fashion, and the producers saw that there’s money to made in fashion merchandizing. The show spawned a successful line of beauty products and clothing, with items ranging from pantyhose to perfume. Over the course of Dynasty’s nine-season run, the ABC network said to have made over $400 million in merchandising as a result of the numerous products sold with the Dynasty name.
Dynasty certainly a major success for the ABC network during it’s run, but all things must come to an end. After the show began losing viewers at an exponential rate, the network decided to pull the plug. However, that didn’t mean that the show was never going to return. After the 1991 reunion miniseries, the fate of the Dynasty brand remained uncertain. It wasn’t until several decades later that Dynasty would finally resurface in the form of a reboot.
Richard and Esther Shapiro had never forgotten about Dynasty. And had talked periodically over the years about bringing the beloved show back in some capacity ever since the airing of Dynasty: The Reunion way back in 1991. Initially, the husband and wife duo had expressed intentions to film a prequel movie that would explore Blake and Alexis together before the events of the original show. Although Richard and Esther were said to have completed a script for the project, it never came to fruition.
After talks of a Dynasty prequel movie fell through, the idea of a reboot series was brought to the table. Eventually, Richard and Esther agreed to go forward with the reboot. And the CW announced that a new Dynasty show would be appearing on their network in the fall of 2017. As with the original program, Richard and Esther retained creative control. The reboot series was a success, and a second season was ordered soon after the series premiered.
The Dynasty reboot series is still currently airing on the CW network, with it now being in the midst of it’s fourth season. Richard and Esther are thankful for the success of the new series, which has outlasted many other reboots of similar properties. It remains uncertain if the show will last for as long as the original did. But it’s likely that Dynasty will continue to live on in one way or another regardless.
Over the course of Dynasty’s original nine-season run, the lives of the Carringtons and the Colbys became increasingly convoluted and hard to relate to for audience members. Comment down below to share if you have fond memories of watching Dynasty. Or if you were one of the few that stuck around for the show’s final episodes. As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!