FlashForward Could Still Get Renewed, But Should It?

By Jason J. Hughes 2010-04-19 00:20:19 discussion comments
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Despite all appearances, it may be a bit premature to declare FlashForward a "dead show airing." According to E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos, the show still has a chance of a last minute pick-up because of stronger international performances, despite dwindling ratings in both the US and the UK.

After a slight uptick on April 8, the series set a new low with its latest airing, slipping below five million total viewers for the first time. With six more airings to go, that number could get precariously lower, and with each drop its chances of renewal get lower and lower. But unlike many other shows, ratings alone may not be the determining factor. If they were, it's fate would surely be sealed by now.

Apparently FlashFoward has relatively low production costs, while generating a notable profit in overseas markets. "it actually does fairly well overseas," said Dos Santos, "And doesn’t hemorrhage as much money as you’d think." An insider on the show said, "This is a rare case where a low domestic performer could get a surprise pickup."

What fans may see is a smaller episode order, maybe akin to Jericho's seven episode second season. Perhaps, ABC would look for a partner on the ABC Studios produced series, something akin to NBC's deal with DirecTV and Friday Night Lights. And I can't imagine that the development slate won't be factored in. If there are a lot of promising new projects coming along, ABC would be less likely to keep a proven underperformer in the states, no matter what it's doing abroad.

It might be worth keeping in the wings, ready to fly when inevitably one of the new shows the network trots out fails miserably. Or, as part of the networks' tentative exploration of a 365-day programming schedule, FlashForward could be seen as a potential summer series. If costs can be kept low, than the lowered ratings returns that most summer series experience could stand in the show's favor.

Five million or so viewers a week through a summer run is better than many networks can score with repeats and a lot of the reality fare they inevitably trot out. But should networks look to scripted shows like FlashForward as schedule fillers, like they do their various reality staples? Or should they just let the public's lack of interest seal the show's fate?
[via SciFi Pulse]
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