The holiday season hiatus is upon us, so virtually all scripted TV shows are already on a break until January 2012, and those that are not will unfortunately follow suit rather sooner than later. Because at Player Affinity TV we are dedicated to making sure you are entertained even during these insufferable breaks, we thought now would be a good time to take a look at a particular group of those shows that will be returning in January. We are going to check how freshman shows performed after receiving full-season orders, whether they kept up their creativity (for those that had any), whether they held on to their audience or whether networks might already be having buyer's remorse.
Those that went through very early on Some network executives are confident, and for good reasons. They know their scripted shows will retain their audience, never mind the audience size, so the shows receive full-season orders less than a month after they have premiered. By October 12, The CW had issued back-9 orders for Hart of Dixie, Ringer and The Secret Circle. After the order, the ratings for all three remained steady, hovering between 0.6 and 0.9 for the 18-49 demographic (1.45 - 2.31 million total viewers), benefiting from events like the World Series, given that The CW thrives whenever other networks are too afraid to compete with sport. That said, none of the shows have given a new breakout hit to the network, so it would be unreasonable to think their luck will lead them all to renewal.
ABC's Revenge and Once Upon a Time got their full-season orders very early as well. In their case, the ratings and the quality of early episodes frankly left no other alternative to ABC executives. Since its beginnings, Revenge has lost some of its appeal, but not enough to threaten the ratings.
Those that almost didn't make it CBS's Unforgettable and Person of Interest have had very respectable ratings since the very beginning (never below 2.2 for Unforgettable and 2.6 for Person in the 18-49 demographic), but somehow, the network didn't seem that impressed and waited until October 25 to make the call. After the order, Person of Interest held its own, but Unforgettable viewership slipped a little. If CBS's executives are anything like me, they were surprised by the success of both shows. Between the two, Unforgettable has the better premise by far, Person of Interest's backstory being irritatingly simplistic. What they share, however, is an absolute lack of ambition. Even if the audience remains impervious to the above shortcomings, I doubt both shows will escape the ax come spring 2012.
Those that are still in limbo Some networks are so used to doing well that they have unreasonable expectations, even for a Friday evening. A Gifted Man
fell victim to CBS's ambitions as the network only ordered three
additional episodes two weeks ago, clearly signaling its ambivalent
feelings about the survival of the series. Despite issues with some of
its creative choices, the show is generally less irritating than CBS's other freshman dramas that have been picked up, but there is of
course the question of ratings. A Gifted Man averaged only 1.2 in the 18-49 demographic while being solid in the total number of viewers with an average around 8.5 million.
ABC's Pan Am settled after some turbulences and an abrupt descent in the ratings, but it would seem the recently found stability came too late to put the show out of troubled waters. After ordering four additional scripts (not episodes), ABC is only committing to one new episode, bringing he total number to fourteen for this season.