NBC Won’t Renew “Who Do You Think You Are?”

NBC Won’t Renew “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Next week's "Who Do You Think You Are?" season finale with Paula Deen has turned into a series finale: NBC opted not to renew the show for a fourth season. We still may be able to catch the show elsewhere on TV. In a statement on the cancellation...

Next week’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” season finale with Paula Deen has turned into a series finale: NBC opted not to renew the show for a fourth season.

We still may be able to catch the show elsewhere on TV. In a statement on the cancellation, Tim Sullivan–president of Ancestry.com, a partner in the series–said that his company and the show’s producers, Is or Isn’t Entertainment and Shed Media, are looking at other avenues of distribution.

See what shows were canceled here.

NBC’s 2012-2013 lineup is here.

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  1. I think its a shame and a travesty and say a lot about the mentality of this country. WDYTYA is an entertaining, educational and history-laden program that shows the diversity and the struggles of all of our pasts. To think that true reality shows like this are cancelled when farces like &quot;Housewives of…&quot; and &quot;Jersey Shore&quot; continue to rake in millions makes me question the IQ of this country on a whole.

  2. I am very disappointed by this cancellation! My husband and I have watched it every Friday night since it began and will greatly miss it. The quality of the program is outstanding. How nice it has been to watch something that is entertaining, informative, and edifying without being vulgar, demeaning, profane, or otherwise offensive! We hope NBC will reconsider its decision and renew it for another season.

  3. I wholly agree with Vikki. This is the only show I race home from a long day at work to see. As far as TV offerings, it’s something I thoroughly enjoy. It’s very well done, informative, and often emotionally moving.

    Network executives and TV advertisers are clearly losing their grip on reality to think tweens and 20-somethings, who are the clear market for most of the &quot;reality&quot; TV offerings, have the same buying power as those of us in the viewing audience of WDYTYA. I guarantee we have higher earnings and more expendable income. NBC is just following the well-beaten path to banality and mediocrity, qualities which clearly permeate television programming and inspire me to hit the OFF button more and more.

  4. I hope another station picks it up. I have watched WDYTYA every time it is on, prefering it to the so-called reality shows that are so inane and really stupid. I really enjoy watching the reactions of the people as they discover things about their family’s past. I’ve learned SO much from this program. The history is absolutely incredible and there are a lot of useful information on how to research your family. Really beats the Kardasians!!

  5. Barbara Broeniman

    I agree wholeheartedly with all the comments listed here. Too many of the truly wholesome programs are being cancelled to say nothing of the history involved in this one. What a way to get our children interested in history without depending only on books. It’s as if we can truly travel back in time to experience what our ancestors did, how they coped and made American what it is today. Such great lessons should not be relegated to the cancellation pile, while junk keeps on spewing from the TV. This brings history alive and in our homes, what a shame to lose it, especially now when genealogy interested is so great.
    Bobbi Broeniman

  6. Horrors, such a great show!!! Shows me what kind of mind set the executives at NBC have. It is the only show I watch. The only show that is worth watching. As a former teacher, I see endless possibilities for this program. The last three seasons have been wonderful history lessons for the old and young. There is Nothing on TV that is as educational, interesting, wholesome, positive, and thought provoking as Who Do You Think You Are!
    Pat Crawford

  7. I love genealogy and Ancestry.com, but I will not miss the show. I could care less about celebrities and their family history. Oh real shocker that most of them came from royalty, bourgeoise, and wealthy tycoons. It’s disgusting that it was so heavily focused on the worship of these people.

    Had the show been about ordinary people, and perhaps tuned in on the genealogists a bit more (and techniques) I would have never missed an episode.

  8. I agree with many of the comments above – WDYTYA? presented a well-rounded portrayal of history and genealogy and presented many lessons we can all learn from as we research our own families. The last two commenters focused on the celebrity aspect of the show – remember, their stories are our stories and the history and events and lives of our ancestors were shared by their ancestors. If a celebrity is used to garner attention to the fascinating (and addicting!) world of genealogy/Family History researching then so be it – WDYTYA? has been successful in opening the past to us through history and family stories, particularly of survival – something so important to all of us today! If NBC doesn’t rethink and renew, I hope the series will find another more enlightened network to continue this important work!

  9. I think NBC made a huge mistake cancelling this show! I’m so disappointed! My husband and I watched it every week it’s on and enjoyed it so much. I do hope another network is smart enough to pick it up!

  10. To the negative poster,
    You certainly have a right to your opinion. However, not a one of us even suggested the celebrity aspect drew us or interested us in the show. The personalities they’ve chosen mean nothing to me. I’d enjoy it just as much if they focused on &quot;normal,&quot; middle-class people. What’s interesting has been the stories, the unexpected connections, mysteries surfaced, mysteries solved, and even humble roots (not just the auspicious ones you’ve mentioned) of several people they’ve profiled. I still think the show has been well-presented. And, as Julie mentioned, there is tremendous potential for them to do more with this series. Sadly, we won’t get to see those actualized.

  11. I’m getting really tired of them canceling shows because the audience is too old! Now there is some real age discrimination. I thought the 50+ demographic was on the rise. Don’t they take that into account? WDYTYA was a quality show that appealed to genealogists both pro and amateur and genealogy is only growing more popular. I will watch it where ever it goes and gladly give up on NBC.

  12. Due to the social &amp; political views of most so called celebrities, I am not awed by them in the least bit thus never really enjoyed WDYTYR though I did watch it a few times. If the focus had been on so called ordinary people the show would have more interesting to me. Additionally, the hard sometimes tedious work of genealogy research was not given its due in the episodes I saw.

  13. I have enjoyed the show since its inception and got my husband interested as well. The main complaints I had were the announcer stating &quot;some of America’s most BELOVED stars&quot; would be showcased — — and the ridiculousness of jetting off to exotic ports-of-call within minutes of the start of each episode. It became a standard joke in our family genealogy circle….
    My vote is for Dr. Gates on PBS to continue his fine series.

  14. I understand what the negative poster is saying. I would have liked to see a more realistic approach to research; we aren’t all descended from kings or have a link to the Mayflower, etc. I would like to see the behind the scenes information on the work it takes to find the records rather than seeing the celebrity jet off to another country to meet with someone who’s already found a document for them.
    I’ve watched every season, every episode and have learned a lot and enjoy the show. I’ve sometimes felt there is an agenda of a social or political issue underneath the research. I would continue to watch the show but hope something similar will take its place. I’m not a fan of the Gates’ show.

  15. I enjoyed WDYTYA? and will miss it on Friday evenings, especially since TV execs have decided that few programs worthy of our viewing are aired on Fridays. The show was entertaining, informative, and educational; it had even my husband intrigued, and he doesn’t have the genealogy interests that kept me tuning in to the show. I did not watch specifically for the stars featured, but for the stories behind their families – once they got beyond the great-grandparent generation, it mattered little to me whose family it was. It was the journey that kept me watching week after week. Yes, some insight to how certain facts were discovered would have been interesting, instead of a genealogist simply appearing with the records saying in essence &quot;Oh, look what we found!&quot; But nonetheless, it was an entertaining show, and much more captivating than the trashy reality shows that seem to permeate the airwaves on any given night of the week. I would hope NBC, especially with their slide in overall ratings, will reconsider the cancellation of WDYTYA. We need more quality programming like it!

  16. I find the show &quot;Who Do You Think You Are?&quot; very educational. I had thought it might be going down a very different road. I didn’t watch it until a few months ago and I was hooked on it.
    I would like to see it continue and for schools to require children to watch it. Then they would learn to love history. Doing genealogy makes history very real and closer to home.

  17. I also enjoyed WDYTYA for it’s educational value. I suggest those that want to voice their feelings about the cancellation, write NBC.com. Go to the &quot;Contact Us&quot; at the bottom of the homepage and find WDYTYA in the dropdown box. Tell them what you think. I DID!

  18. I’ve never missed an episode, but often had no idea who the &quot;celebrities&quot; were until the show started and explained what they did. So they certainly were not the &quot;draw&quot; for me! I can think of only one with royal claims (Brooke Shields, I believe), and few (none?) were wealthy like Wall Street or Senators. So I don’t know what the complainers are talking about; maybe they don’t either.

    The thing that hooked me every time (almost) was the historical events their families collided with, and the twists and turns the genealogists had to follow to find &quot;the answer&quot;. Just like I’m doing in my own research. That’s probably what limits the audience – neither history nor genealogy seem to draw big enough audiences for a &quot;Big 3&quot; network. Maybe History Channel will pick it up?


  19. I did not care for the show. All the research was done by experts–how frustrating for someone who struggles along doing her own research. Why don’t they show a real person and how that person goes about doing the research.

  20. i do not see why they would take off a show that has some meaning to it and leave on the shows that have a riduculous effect on the viewing person.. hey take off some of these stupid shows executives.. leave on good viewing tim morgan

  21. I too am very disappointed. I absolutely love the show, and always look forward to the mysteries that are solved. It gives me ideas for my own research. I wish Ancestry.com would have its own TV channel which would be a vehicle for educational classes, stories from others genealogists, specials, question and answer shows (with questions from viewers), etc. I would turn in to that channel instead of HGTV, my current favorite. I’m so addicted to family history and would like to see more of it on TV.

  22. Thanks to everyone for your comments. I’ve also enjoyed watching the show and I’m disappointed NBC canceled it. I do chuckle, like Kay, when the celebrity finds out Great-grandma was born in New York City or immigrated from Lithuania and immediately says &quot;I have to go there!&quot; but I understand how an hour-long tv show has to edit out the tedious research that genealogists are used to. And I did enjoy seeing overseas repositories I’d never otherwise see.

    The show needed to appeal to a general (not-necessarily-genealogical) audience to be successful, and I doubt showing the reality of researchers hard at work in a library would do that. It’s a TV show’s job to entertain; it’s our job to show how to do genealogy. A genealogy blogger (maybe Anglo-Celtic Connections?) showed how ratings correlated with the celebrity’s popularity (according to Google searches on the celebrity), supporting the need for a celebrity subject to appeal to a general audience.

    I watched nearly every episode and saw just as many (if not more) poor, working class ancestors portrayed as I saw royal/wealthy ancestors. For entertainment value, the show would follow the line with the most interesting story, whether it was an ancestor who helped create Wells Fargo (Helen Hunt) or an ancestor whose dad died in a coal mine (Jason Sudeikis). I know plenty of modern &quot;ordinary&quot; folks who have presidential, Mayflower or otherwise prominent family links.

  23. I am really sorry to see that WDYTYA is being cancelled. I watch is every week and it is very informative and has a lot the historical value. All the reality shows on the air today are just ridiculous. As far as the show being about celebrities that really does not matter. The whole purpose of the show is to let people see how one goes about researching their ancestry. The celebrities is just a way to get people to watch. I truly hope another channel picks up the show.

  24. We can’t take this news lying down. Why don’t we genealogists start at petition, or facebook campaign or ??? to show NBC and other channels that GENEALOGISTS are a big part of the population! Come on, GENEALOGY ROCKS!!!!! Let’s make our voices heard!

  25. I cannot believe they would cancel something that people actually enjoy and gives them the desire to research their own family tree. I do agree with betsy about using everyday people and show how they can research without the help the stars get. I enjoy seeing their histories and I’m sure that what gets the money and ratings. Very disappointed in NBC.

  26. Ugh! Can’t believe NBC would cancel such a inspiring show. Hopeful someone will profit from their mistake. One of the few shows I would rush home to catch and as soon as it was over , would spend hours on my genealogy research. I too wish some of the everyday people would have been used, but enjoyed watching the celebrities too. The show even inspired my husband &amp; I to plan our own WDYTYA trip this summer to break thru our own brick walls. Funny, Paula Deen went to several places we’ve got planned to see and hopefully bust some of our brick walls. Thanks for the tips NBC!

  27. I am upset that they cancelled this show. I found it to be informative and interesting. There are too many mind numbing shows on TV and this one was actually teaching us something. I hope they find another media to carry it.

    I agree with others on here, maybe they should have focused on at least one non-celebrity. The end result wouldn’t matter, it’s about the journey to get there.

  28. I am really bummed. This program is one of the few that I really enjoy and learn alot from. The information that you learn on the places that there are to look is amazing. May be another network will pick it up, like other TV programs have had happen.

  29. I’m sad to see the show cancelled but like some of the others who have commented, the show could have been much better than what it was.

    I agree with those who state it would have been a little more interesting to see some of the behind the scene work rather than just have it presented to the subject as a fait accompli and have them jet to Italy or across country or wherever. I work in the field in Tennessee and know some of the people who did some of the behind the scenes work on a couple of shows and it is interesting to know that part of the story. It is also very instructional for those learning how to do their own research.

    I would also sometimes get aggravated because I thought the show made presumptive leaps at times in some of their conclusions but I rationalized this by concluding the show had good researchers assist them and that in the interest of &quot;entertainment&quot; and time, the key piece of information leading to their conclusion just didn’t make it into the show. Still, it would have been instructional for the viewer to see this part of the research process.

    Still, despite my issues with the show, I did enjoy it and found it to be much better &quot;entertainment&quot; than most of what we see on TV today. Here’s hoping it finds a new home.