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As one of the most out-of-nowhere hit film franchises in recent years, the Taken flicks reaffirmed Liam Neeson's blockbuster star status, and breathed new life into that cranny of the action genre. And while NBC certainly hoped that big screen success would transfer appropriately to the small screen, that hasn't really been the case for Taken's TV run. And now, in the back half of Season 2, NBC has announced Taken has been pulled from its Friday night timeslot, and that it will return to fans in May, with its remaining twists and turns set to air on Saturday nights.
Until last week, Taken was slotted in Friday's 9:00 p.m. ET hour, just behind the similarly troubled Blindspot, and just before Dateline NBC, which routinely manages to perform better than its predecessors. But the revamped Season 2's viewership and ratings stats have been disappointing. On average, fewer than three million people are tuning into Taken on Friday nights, and it can't seem to top a 0.5 key demo rating anymore, which is not a good sign in the least. Even though we're far beyond the glory days of massive TV audiences, a 1.0 demo rating remains a good indicator of a show's success, and anything earning far below that is living on borrowed time. Taken's disappointing results obviously weren't boosting NBC's confidence in Bryan Mills' special skills.
As such, NBC will be moving Taken to its Saturday night schedule starting on May 26, according to Variety, but without a specific time noted. Which means the fans who actually were tuning in weekly will have to wait more than a month to see how Season 2's final three episodes turn out. And then that'll be coupled with the knowledge that NBC is likely going to pull the plug on Taken soon, which is not the most ideal way to try and enjoy a TV show.
Landing on any network's Friday night schedule is almost always accompanied by a death knell, though CBS' Blue Bloods has learned how to dominate that evening, and even ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has maintained a shot at a season despite its own current Friday night home. (S.H.I.E.L.D. is generally watched by a million fewer people than Taken, but scores a higher demo rating.) And though Taken's first season did manage to make some weekend-primer waves when it started, the numbers soon evened out to a little over 4 million viewers an episode. It got renewed, which was a great sign, but then made a bunch of big casting and story changes for Season 2, and its TV success only dwindled from there.
Taken definitely hasn't become a critical darling in its two seasons, with overall consensus on a mixed-to-negative level. But if this Saturday night move gets enough attention, it's possible all the fans could rise up and become the Bryan Mills of their own existences, demanding that NBC bring the show back to a more proper primetime setting. It's not likely, like at all, but it's possible.