Ambitions: Cancelled OWN Drama Available to Stream via Starz Ambitions: Cancelled OWN Drama Available to Stream via Starz
Cancelled OWN drama Ambitions is now available to watch on the Starz app and Starz On Demand. Is this a sign the series could... Ambitions: Cancelled OWN Drama Available to Stream via Starz

Back in the halcyon pre-coronavirus days of late January, OWN cancelled primetime soap Ambitions after one oddly bifurcated season of twists, turns, shade, and shenanigans. It was a somewhat surprising turn of events considering the murderer’s row of cliffhangers the show ended its December 2019 season finale on, as well as its solid ratings performance in the face of unorthodox scheduling. While one could speculate as to the reason why OWN tossed the show aside, the fact remained that a fun piece of escapist television fell through the cracks at a time when we needed it the most.

But the television industry giveth just as easily as it can taketh and giveth it did with the news that the full 18-episode first season of Ambitions is now available to watch via the Starz app and Starz On Demand. Though seemingly a random place for it to land, the series is in fact produced by Lionsgate Television, the television division of Lions Gate Entertainment, aka the company that owns Starz. So this is essentially Lions Gate using a piece of its property to bolster another piece of its property in the Starz app, which is quickly expanding internationally and recently saw a 45% usage bump thanks to coronavirus. 

However, there’s another angle here. While Lions Gate trying to continue its subscriber momentum through the addition of a popular series they wholly own is notable, especially at a time when streaming as a whole has increased and library content volume is key, there’s also the possibility of this being a tryout of sorts for Ambitions being revived. Series creator Jamey Giddens (The Rich & the Ruthless) has been open about the show’s search for a new home following its cancellation and recently intimated that if enough people were to binge Ambitions in its new streaming home, there’s a chance of it being returning in its new premium cable digs.

While premium isn’t known for saving cancelled shows the way that streaming is, Ambitions going to Starz would make quite a bit of sense. Aside from the vertical integration aspect, wherein this would be another series owned by the network that Lions Gate could fully monetize and build an episode count for, there’s the fact that Starz recently announced a rebrand it’s calling “premium female.” In short, the cabler will focus its development on women 25-54 since they’re twice as likely to buy apps that are under $10, more loyal, and serve more lifetime value on the digital side. This is concurrent with the four (!) Power spinoffs that were ordered to series, the most prominent being Power Book II: Ghost starring Oscar nominee Mary J Blige, meaning that Starz is doubling down on soapy content that serves a Black female audience. With the first half of Ambitions season one clocking in as the #1 show in its time slot across broadcast and cable in Black viewers, the series already coming from a network with an explicit target demo of Black women 25-54, and plot points centering on everything from murder mysteries to kidnapping, mistresses, political corruption, family secrets, and affluent people doing terrible things, it fits right in with what Starz is trying to do creatively while bringing an established audience of its own along for the ride.

It’s still very rare for a cancelled show to be revived, let alone revived thanks to its streaming performance. But the stars (or starz, if you want) have seemingly started to align for Ambitions to be resurrected after being unjustly cut down in the early days of its creative prime. Helping its case is that it’s a show whose fast pace, fondness for twists, and sense of humor makes it an easy, enjoyable binge and that it’s making its streaming debut during a time when it has a captive audience desperately in need of entertainment. Hopefully enough people either rewatch the series to relive the show’s Scandal-meets-OG-Dynasty brand of refreshingly bold unpredictability or discover the series while aimlessly scrolling through the Starz app to incite a second season on Starz. Not just because it’s a show that makes sense for Starz financially and creatively, not just because it’s the chance to save another show with a predominantly POC cast from an untimely and premature end, but because it’s a show that had so much left in its tank and we deserve to watch all of that play out on screen.

Avatar

Shilo Adams

Shilo Adams is a contributor to KSiteTV who has written for the likes of TVOvermind, ScreenFad, and TVHackr. You can e-mail him at [email protected], follow him on Twitter @sda0918, or contact him on Curious Cat @sda0918.