Good Girls Revolt, the Amazon Original series about female journalists based on a true story, will sadly not be returning for a second season.
News of this first broke in December when the head of Amazon Video, Roy Price, decided to axe the show— without any women present in the room. He personally didn’t like or even watch the show.
Since Amazon decided not to renew the show, Sony began shopping the series elsewhere, to no avail.
“Good Girls Revolt won’t be airing on another network. We made what felt like a 10-hour play, and I will miss the world and the characters that our cast brought to life,” executive producer Dana Calvo wrote on Instagram. “Mostly, I will miss hearing from all of you who said it had an impact. Sending love and thanks today for the privilege of being able to tell stories that bring us closer and make us stronger.”
And indeed, the show had a strong impact on many women. It’s not often in the media that a show is centered around women’s stories—and stories that don’t focus on romantic entanglements with men, at that.
Calvo told Buzzfeed journalist Kate Aurthur that according to data from Sony, Good Girls Revolt was a hit with many loyal viewers, even having twice the audience of Transparent, another popular Amazon series. “Eighty percent of people who watched the first few minutes of the pilot stayed until the last few minutes of the finale,” Calvo said. “We were stunned by Amazon’s decision, but heartened and encouraged by Sony’s devotion to the project.”
“It’s really the only Amazon program that we’ve seen to date that has a really strong female 18-to-49 following,” John Sollecito, Senior Vice President of streaming monitor Symphony Advanced Media, says of the show.
It’s a well-documented phenomenon that in Hollywood, women’s stories are often stifled. According to a 2015 report by the University of Southern California’s Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative, not even a third of speaking roles in popular films go to women. In addition, female directors only accounted for 1.9 percent of the 100 top-grossing films in both 2013 and 2014, and these stats have not improved much in the last few years.
“The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University shows that it’s not just the field of directing where women are still falling behind,” Vanity Fair reports. According to Variety, women “comprised 11% of writers, 20% of executive producers, 26% of producers, 22% of editors, and 6% of cinematographers.”
There is even a whole Tumblr blog dedicated to the sexism women directors face called Shit People Say To Women Directors (SWSTWD). Their mission statement reads: “We are an anonymous open blog for all individuals identifying as women who work in film & television. It’s a crazy business, especially for women. Until now, we haven’t had a platform to share some of the let’s call them ‘unusual’ things people have said to us while working. This is for catharsis and to expose some of the absurd barriers women face in the entertainment business.”
Lynn Povich, author of the book on which Good Girls Revolt was based, was delighted when Sony asked to buy the story. “I wrote the book because I didn’t want the history of how Newsweek women were the first in the media to file a gender discrimination complaint to be lost,” she says. “Selling the story to Sony meant it would reach a wider and younger generation, which it did.” Povich herself even worked as a consulting producer on the show.
“I wish I knew on what basis Roy Price decided not to give Good Girls a second season,” Povich says. “Amazon has not given any reason or shown any metrics to support its decision despite the fact independent research showed an 80 percent viewer completion rate (the usual rate is 50-60 percent) and the series had a fervent following.”
With the disappointing cancellation of the show, which meant so much to people (as you can see by searching the hashtag #SaveGoodGirlsRevolt), Povich still sees a glass ceiling in the media industry that needs to be shattered—even 40+ years after that Newsweek lawsuit.
“Women are doing well as journalists but we are still not running news organizations or entertainment companies. There is still a lot of work to be done,” she says. “It’s not a pipeline issue anymore, as my generation thought. We’ve been in the pipeline for over 40 years. So there’s still a glass ceiling at the very top and often just beneath.”
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