Washington Heights – A Show Abandoned

Washington Heights on MTV is an example of a show that failed not because it wasn’t good or didn’t have a devoted, core audience. It failed because the network it was on didn’t believe it would succeed and did absolutely nothing to promote it.

MTV doesn’t make reality shows about young people of colour, so Washington Heights, a show about Dominicans and Latino’s living in upper Manhattan was a nice breath of fresh air. Instead of it being Jersey Shore with brown faces, it was about young people trying to make it and do something positive with their lives and their art. It was a show that a lot of people gravitated to and loved, including me.

The early reviews of the show were positive, though some of the chatter on Twitter was saying it was boring or staged, it seemed like people were watching. However, Washington Heights debuted the same week as Buckwild, a show about young people in rural Virginia that was already seen as the new Jersey Shore. The Buckwild cast were on the Today Show, Access Hollywood, on MTV’s website, Tumblr page and all over their Twitter feed. It was obvious from the beginning that Buckwild was the show MTV was pushing, and Washington Heights just happened to be premiering the same week.

After the first episode aired, support for the show pretty much dropped completely. MTV live tweeted the first few episodes, but made negative comments about the show. R&B artist Miguel picked all the music for one episode and took over the MTV twitter feed to live tweet, but it was barely promoted and there was no mention in the episode that Miguel had picked the music. Barely any commercials for the show aired, the cast did very little media and perhaps the most crucial thing was the lack of reruns. MTV plays it’s signature shows, Snooki and JWow, Teen Mom 2, Catfish: The TV Show in marathons on the weekend. For a new show like Washington Heights, getting a big audience was important, especially since the ratings for the debut episode weren’t that great, and showing a marathon on the weekend would introduce more viewers to the show. It never happened. Now with one episode left, MTV Canada has pulled the show completely from its television line up, only showing it online and MTV US has pushed it back to 11 pm on Wednesdays.

It’s pretty clear that Washington Heights will not be getting a second season and it makes me angry because MTV never gave it a chance. The question is, why?

JP Perez, the star of the show, pitched the idea to MTV. It’s his show and his creation, which is something to applaud. The fact that MTV would put its time and money in to a show about Latino’s that showed them in a positive light was a step in the right direction. But it didn’t give MTV the standout personality like Snooki, it didn’t have shocking moments like Catfish, or drunk kids getting in to fights like Buckwild. Does that mean there isn’t a television market for young people of colour to be positive on TV? Do we have to settle for the Love and Hip Hop, Basketball Wives and Real Housewives of Atlanta?

It’s frustrating that MTV didn’t do everything they could to promote this show and allow it to become successful. But like many other Washington Heights fans, the show will always stay with me. It was fun to watch, the cast members were lovable and talented and smart. I hope they’re able to use the show to make their dreams come true.

Shame on you, MTV, for letting this show go.

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25 Comments

Filed under Television

25 responses to “Washington Heights – A Show Abandoned

  1. Jewel Allen

    MTV should be ashamed of themselves, Washington Heights was a great show that promoted positivity in our latino community, I feel this show should have been picked up for a second season, but I guess since the young adults on the show weren’t making asses of each other and actually making something of their lives we couldn’t have that. To all the cast members I wish u al the best in your journeys………….

  2. Shanta

    Thank you for writing this. I thought I was the only person who noticed how MTV played this show! I noticed how after the first couple of episodes they showed reruns, but the following weeks things changed. I was very disappointed because I tuned in to watch WH every week since it premiered and thought it was not only entertaining, but very positive. The cast was very funny, especially JP, oh and the boys were all fine. Wooo lol! All in all, I could relate to these people and at one point deemed them my Wednesday night show.

  3. Chad Melendez

    I guess MTV just wants to see America’s kids . just drinking and fighting and making fools out of them selfs than showing them making something out of selfs or have dreams . I’m done with MTV !!!!!

  4. shalonda

    I love Washington Heights. I think they should make a season 2

  5. shawntel

    i think its sad that every show we have about young people making a way for themselves that it ends up taken off the air.
    shows like buck wild when they went off season and half of their cast went to jail we didn’t even get a follow up that’s so sad i think it Washington heights should come back it gave me all types of hope to follow my dreams

  6. E

    True. The show actually gave me a much needed boost to make the move to nyc. It was important for me to see that show, it changed everything.

  7. This show was the first one to teach me that the USA isn’t only about party, alcohol and drugs. It was nostalgic to watch because it is so real and authentic. The message to pursue your dreams no matter what others say which I’ve got from WH will never let me go and motivated me to make some serious decisions. I really wish the best for the cast. Even without season 2 there will be good things happening to them.

    The time with WH was short but the impact was damn big. I hope that everyone makes something out of it.

    Good luck to all of you

  8. Johnny Walker

    To be honest, it’s JP’s fault if anything. Anyone who done their homework know MTV is a network for FEMALES age 14-34. MTV does not push cultural boundaries. MTV does not care about the arts or your message. MTV cares about selling advertising to their core demographic. Producers see the MTV name and automatically get starstruck but fail to examine how their show fits in with the network’s identity. I knew it wouldn’t be successful from start because to be honest, 14 year old girls in middle America can not relate to the interest of Hispanic young people in NYC. Laguna Beach was white, was suburban and relatable to MTV’s demo. Now if Hispanic people came out in droves to support the show, then the ratings would be through the roof. Unfortunately they did not, which leads me to believed if was as good of a show as we thought. Note to JP in the future. Examine and study other shows on the network, know their demo because at the end of the day, the network give zero fucks about your moral vision and all the fucks in the world about selling ad space.

    • Val

      Dont blame him. WH may have not been successful on screen but JP has a lot of drive and passion and one day, some day, any day now, his voice will not only be heard but he will make a breakthrough and have his voice heard…

  9. Lorenza

    To repeat, shame on MTV for not having at least, a second season. But boring Jawow and Snooki show is getting more time? At least people would have learned something from these Latino young Washington Heights young people–I loved it!!!! Guess I’ll just have to go to NYC to live the dream and get out of Lalaland of Hollywood nothingness shows.

  10. Val

    It is a shame. I loved this show and was highly anticipating a second season. So many trash reality shows are on air tight now and the one show that is inspirational very positive to a young generation gets canned. Smh! Its ridiculous at best. I along with other viewers liked this show and did not want to watch sex, drugs, nudity and fights 24/7 to take over my screen and Washington Heights was the complete opposite and MTV could not even let it live…

  11. Jossy

    WASHINGTON HEIGHTS FOREVER WE SHOULD DO A MARCH TO BRING IT BACK

  12. Clari

    we miss Washington Heights BRING IT BACK NOW!!!!!!!!

  13. N/A

    To me the show was great. It had its fare share of drama, but also It had a lot of positive and heart warming moments. It’s a shame, but maybe somewhere in “la-la” land a network picks it up. They should have picked it up. Especially it was something new besides what we were getting. Eh, but they keep this generic dating show giving a million dollars away, like, c’mon. Fuck MTV for that.

  14. XYZ

    My american friend told me he disliked the show and found it boring because he was expecting it to be gangster oriented.

  15. The show was heavily promoted by MTV and it failed to deliver ratings, ratings equal ad money and that’s the name of the game. The show was boring and all though it was a positive in its representation of the Heights it did not highlight the fact that the Heights is transitioning neighborhood, I with the new out with the old. The show was not worthy if another season as it was very boring and not one character stood out. Don’t blame MTV or play a race card blame the viewers for not tuning in.

  16. janae

    The shoe for cancelled because it had low ratings. Why? Because no one wanted to watch the same overly dramatic type of reality show.

  17. kim

    BRING IT BACK. its a very thoughtful show!!!!

  18. Zahirah Muhammad

    Omg!!! I’m African-American and I effin loved this show!!! I had been seeing previews of the premier for weeks, and when it finally aired, my sisters and I were beyond ecstatic. I hated that there were absolutely NO RERUNS, and when I didn’t see any follow-ups or any hope for a second season, I was a little more than pissed. Yes I’ll always remember it, but I wanna SEE IT!! Lol jst saying. Big fan over here

    • avner soto

      Ok I’m going to say it like this…….that show Washington heights was a disgraced. How is that MTV is going to show a bunch of Latin kids that are doing positive things for themselves and their community…..like let’s be real I’m sorry to say this but I’M A REAL WASHINGTON HEIGHTS RECIPIENT! I lived there all my life and I can say is the way that show was depicted is nothing like how the heights really is. The washington heights is about the everyday struggle of your everyday typical Dominican, the urban youth in the Washington heights is consist of young pregnante teens, selling drugs, act of mischief, basically the everyday violence. For a show that was basically made by white rich producer they sure got everything wrong. I rather see something that DEPICTS WHAT DOMINICANS THAT ACTUALLY LIVE IN THE WASHINGTON HEIGHTS GO THROUGH. SO TO NARROW THIS DOWN I’M GLAD THIS SHOW WAS CANCELED AND I HOPE THAT THIS SHOW WOULD NEVER AIR AGAIN.

  19. carol

    They should try to pitch it to MUN2. This show was great because they showed young, Latinos in a positive light and they all had interesting back stories. My coworker & I really loved this show and I hope they can somehow pull this together but realistically, the cast has probably moved on.

  20. Tanisha

    I loved watching this show. I wish they would bring it back. I’m mad that all they want to show is trash on tv. Thus show taught young people how they should be striving to be successful and pursuing their dreams. MTV dropped the ball big time with this show.

  21. Lisa S.

    Such a good show! I liked the whole cast. Shame on you Mtv! Make Season2!!!

    • Uhavenowadia

      This was a Great Show!!!!! An every hood has that story of how there are the ones that choose a route that doesn’t include being a teenage mom or selling drugs. They chose these particular characters to show a different schene where under there circumstances they where choosing to take a different path. They didn’t want to become a hood statistic so to speak. They wanted more!!!!!!!!
      That’s why this was such a great show………..
      How many degrading reality shows can we take. This show was a breath of fresh air. They where :
      YOUNG MOTIVATED with PURPOSE
      Hopefully the show will be picked up by another station.

  22. Linda

    Yes shame on MTV!! I loved the cast and the show!! To bad another channel can’t pic it up!!

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