ABC released a few revisions to its early 2007 schedule. Nothing really out of the ordinary unless you read between the lines. When you do, it sounds like deja vu and very bad news for fans of Taye Diggs and Day Break.
Day Break first aired on November 15, 2006 on ABC after months of network promotion. The series debut took the place of the very popular Lost series after its “Fall finale” the week before. Day Break tells the story of Detective Brett Hopper (Taye Diggs) who, to put it mildly, is having a very bad day. He’s accused of killing Assistant District Attorney Alberto Garza. When no one believes his alibi and Hopper realizes that he’s been framed, he runs but stops when he learns that his loved ones are also in danger. The next morning, Hopper wakes up and starts to relive the same day over again. This pattern continues and Hopper retains the memories of the “previous” day each time. To stop the cycle, he must solve the mystery and uncover the identity of who framed him. Day Break also stars Victoria Pratt, Adam Baldwin, Meta Golding and Ramon Rodriguez. ABC ordered 13 episodes of the series and the storyline was intended to conclude by the end of the first season.
The highly promoted two-hour debut of Day Break debuted to stiff competition — up against regular episodes of CBS’ popular Criminal Minds and CSI: NY and the third season premiere of NBC’s Medium. Still, Day Break attracted a decent number of viewers (10.5 households) in its debut. Unfortunately viewership has been dropping ever since. The December 6th episode drew only approximately 3.5 million households, putting it in fourth place for its timeslot. To put this in perspective, over five million watched ABC’s Show Me the Money and Primetime immediately prior and following Day Break.
The overall ratings have been far less than ABC was hoping for. Ideally, they wanted to capture the audience members who had been tuning in to watch Lost each week. That didn’t happen. Perhaps audiences felt like they’d seen variations of the concept before (Tru Calling, Groundhog Day, Run Lola Run, etc.) — or because they didn’t want to risk getting involved with another serial drama that would be cancelled. Considering the network’s current track record with serial dramas, perhaps they were right.
In a smart move, ABC recently announced that they’re reworking their Wednesday night schedule — in preparation for the return of Lost (which returns on February 7th). During the Fall of 2005, Lost scored great numbers at 9 p.m. but took a notable ratings hit once American Idol returned in January. ABC execs clearly don’t want a repeat of that situation. As a result, Lost will move from 9pm to 10pm. The network has decided to air two hours of comedy shows in the 8-10pm half hours prior to Lost. New episodes of George Lopez and According to Jim will be followed by the new comedies Knights of Prosperity and In Case of Emergency. To give the four sitcoms a chance to establish an audience prior to juggernaut Idol’s return on January 16th, ABC will start airing them on January 3rd (though George Lopez won’t be back until January 24th)
So where does this leave Day Break until Lost returns? At 10pm? Nope. ABC has announced that news programming will air Wednesdays at 10pm. That means that Day Break will be pulled from Wednesday nights after its eighth episode on December 27th.
Adding insult to injury, its looking doubtful that ABC will move Day Break to another night (unless the ratings really pick up) to wrap up the series. It’s more likely that Day Break will be added to the growing number of ABC serial dramas in “limbo.” The network has six unaired episodes of The Nine, six episodes of Six Degrees and will have five unaired episodes of Day Break.
The network has said that some of these shows will return to the schedule but, in general, networks are reluctant to return serial dramas to the airwaves after long absences. Rightly or wrongly, its believed that people either forget about the show or figure that they’ve missed too many episodes and won’t be able to follow the storyline. With its deja vu-like premise, Day Break would certainly fall into this category.
Is there hope for fans of the Taye Diggs series? Well, with any luck, ABC (who has an ongoing relationship with online television vendor iTunes) will release the unaired episodes of Day Break online or we’ll see a release of the complete series on DVD in the near future. If there any new developments, we’ll let you know so stay tuned!