Despite a double 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this show has just been canceled

Joe Pera
(Image credit: Adult Swim)

Cult comedy Joe Pera Talks With You has been canceled after three seasons. 

The show was produced by Adult Swim, the adult-oriented programming block of Cartoon Network with shows like Rick and Morty and American Dad part of its roster of shows. 

First aired in 2018, the show consisted of 11-minute episodes where Pera, a comedian, played a fictionalized version of himself. This Pera lives in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and looks after the choir at a local middle school. In each episode, he talks directly to the viewer about everyday subject matter with topics ranging from dancing to beans to piano lessons. Along the way, viewers were introduced to his friends and neighbors. 

The show ran for three seasons in all with a total 32 episodes aired, including a holiday special. 

Pera, who is currently touring with his stand-up show, revealed the news via his own weekly newsletter. He wrote: "I am writing to share the unfortunate news that ‘Joe Pera Talks With You’ is over for now. We were driving home from Bethlehem, PA the morning after my final Spring Tour show when I got a call that it wouldn’t be renewed for another season. The more I learn how TV works, the more I realize that it’s kind of a miracle that our quiet, 11-minute show about rocks, beans, grocery stores, and breakfast crews got on the air and lasted as long as it did."

He continued: "And it was rare how much creative freedom we were given by the network. It felt like we cracked something - a different kind of tone that has now popped up a bit elsewhere. Kinda neat but also frustrating that we won’t be able to continue exploring it (at least with this show). Hey, if I never make anything else, this was the show I always wanted to see and I’m glad it now exists. But hopefully that’s not the case."

Joe Pera Talks With You was a critical hit, with a 100% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Amazingly, it also garnered a 100% audience rating for each of its three seasons. One critic called Pera "...a fragile yet towering philosopher of the everyday" and that seemed to be the vibe among his the show's fans. Everyone who saw it loved it, but that hasn't been enough to earn it a fourth season.

Analysis: Those figures are off the charts, so why has it been canceled?

It's difficult to imagine getting better reviews than that, which means the show's cancelation must have been a business decision. 

Adult Swim is part of the Warner Bros. Discovery universe and that merger has led to new CEO David Zaslav doing his best to make a lot of immediate cost-savings. 

The costs have most keenly been felt at HBO, which is also in the midst of a spree of cancelations. Despite its starry cast, The Time Traveler's Wife was axed after a single season earlier in July, and then period drama Gentleman Jack got the boot at the end of last week. 

As well as that, HBO had already pulled the plug on Demimonde, J. J. Abrams' first solo creation for television since his original hit Alias, which was looking at a budget of over $200 million. 

Joe Pera Talks With You felt like the definite of a cult show. Those who watched it adored it, as you'll see from the outpouring of grief after Pera posted news of the show's demise.

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Sadly, in a time of belt-tightening and cost-cutting, shows like that with low audience figures feel like easy meat for the bean counters, which is a crying shame. 

It's been a busy year for cancelations, read about everything canceled by Netflix here. 

Tom Goodwyn
Freelance Entertainment Writer

Tom Goodwyn was formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He's now a freelancer writing about TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in East London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two small children…