Harper’s Island: CBS Sends Mystery Series Packing… But It’s a Good Thing?

Harper's IslandCBS has announced that they’re pulling Harper’s Island series from its high-profile, post-CSI timeslot and sending it to a primetime deathslot. However, the network contends that the move doesn’t diminish their faith in the series.

Harper’s Island revolves around a group of family and friends who come together for a wedding on a secluded island. Before the nuptials can commence the wedding guests are slain, one by one, by a mysterious killer. The show’s ensemble cast includes Elaine Cassidy, Christopher Gorham, Katie Cassidy, Cameron Richardson, Adam Campbell, Richard Burgi, Jim Beaver, C.J. Thomason, Victor Webster, Jay Brazeau, Dean Chekvala, Matt Barr, and Harry Hamlin.

The premiere of Harper’s aired on April 9th, opposite NBC’s new Southland series. The show won the timeslot in total viewership (10.49 million) but was second in the 18-49 demographic with a 2.7/8 rating/share. However, when you look a little closer, those numbers aren’t as positive as one might think. Harper’s lost over a third of its CSI lead-in audience and almost as much in the coveted demo. On top of that, about 10% of Harper’s audience tuned out midway through the premiere episode.

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The second week, Harper’s dropped to an average of 8.17 million viewers and a 2.2/6 rating/share. Last Thursday’s installment fell once again to an audience of 7.45 million and a 2.0/6 in the demo. With this steady decline and consistent loss of the CSI lead-in, it certainly didn’t look like Harper’s was long for this world.

It’s no shocker that CBS has sent the 13-episode series to Saturday nights at 9pm beginning this week. Repeats of Criminal Minds will fill the timeslot for the immediate future.

But CBS has put a positive spin on the decision, based on the DVR and online viewership numbers. Kelly Kahl, the network’s Senior Executive VP of Prime Time, says, “The preliminary DVR and online streaming data suggest a passionate audience for Harper’s outside its current Thursday time period borders. This move gives us an opportunity to improve the time period on Thursday while experimenting with more original programming on Saturday, and continuing to serve an audience that is clearly engaged in the ongoing Harper’s Island story.”

Though this season of 13 episodes was always intended to conclude the mystery, the network was hoping to bring the show back for a second season, with a different cast and mystery. Though this move doesn’t completely close the door on that possibility, it’s highly unlikely. After all, when was the last time a show that was exiled to Saturday nights ended up returning for another season?

Canceled and renewed TV show

185 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Harper's Fan says

    The finale was Sad!!!! Henry!? of all people….

    Henry?! wow…that was a surprise. I just

    wish that Chloe & Cole were on the boat

    w/ Shea & Madison. Oh…and it was really

    sad to see Sully die. Wakefield was psyhco!!!

    but all in all it was a good series.

  2. Michelle says

    Harper’s Island was a show that I absolutely looked forward to every week. It has been a long time since I’ve looked forward to a TV series. I loved the suspense and anticipation ~ always left you hanging and looking forward to the next episode. I would love to see a second series or another similar 13 week series.

  3. annonymous says

    You mean, “they’re” stupid Hunter? And by “everyone”, did you mean every one, as in every episode? I’m not sure there’s a need for personal attacks over opinions about a show. You thought it was great, good for you. Others didn’t. So be it. If we all liked the same stuff the world would be pretty boring, don’t you think? I’m sure there were a lot of people that were intellectually stimulated by this show, (I’m just not one of them), but, I’m glad it did it for you.

  4. sharron says

    harper’s island was great from start to finish,very well written and the murder scenes were so well planned i had to ask myself am i watching a movie on cable? but i do agree with the idea of releasing it on dvd and maybe doing another show either way im a fan

  5. Marcus says

    I don’t know why people are bashing the show… its entertaining and a decent mystery. What ever happened to “if you have got nothing good to say, say nothing at all”? I think the show is fine so if you disagree, just keep your opinion to your selves.

  6. taylor says

    Hey! why is evryone bashing on harpers island!? i belive they should come back for a second season i really enjoyed it….every single episode was great! i’ve barely seen a good show on lately and harpers island is the greatest show ever, in my opinion. by the way, i was happy of how it ended, abby and jimmy are together and FINALLY trish is dead, and henry is the killer. BUT, the only thing i didnt want was for sully to die but its okay, its still a great show!!! :)

  7. brooklyn says

    i loved the show i loved that their was a mystery and every week you would have to guess who it was that would die it is a shame they cancelled it i hope it returns

  8. Anonymous says

    i think that it was an amazing show and i loved the ending i was shocked and i thought the reason henrey did it was adorable and it was a little sad it is a great show and they should air another series like it or at least put it on DVD so others can watch it again and maybe more people will like it more it if it becomes like a multi-series show imean it may not be as good because if you saw the original youd kind of be expecting this kind of stuff but they could give it a little twist like this series did i think it was amazing bravo

  9. says

    i loved the show i preferred taping on dvr so i did not have to watch commercials,I THOUGHT IT WAS AWESOME,id like to see another one with different murders and different place.

  10. hunter says

    i love this show i saw everyone and im sad it is not coming back.but good show though.people who think it’s stupid,well their stupid.

  11. annonymous says

    I’m surprised so many people liked this show. I started watching because I’m a Chris Gorham fan, but I guess I’m not really a “horror” kind of person and this was beyond “murder mystery” for me. I did tune in to the final episode just to see how it ended, but I was disappointed that I figured out who the murderer was after watching just two part episodes–it seemed obvious to me. And I agree, it wasn’t very well written. I mean who splits up when a murderer is on the loose?? Oh well. I guess people don’t watch horrors for the quality story lines! 😀

  12. Calvin says

    I missed it last week till almost the end and didn’t bother me at all. Now tonight I find out it is Wakefields son and him that is killing people, LOL
    This is such a great show, NOT!
    Karen 131, Jackie 132 and Lynn 136 you are right. I can’t believe how little it takes for some people to be entertained. If anyone “thinks” about what they are watching they will see how stupid it is. The writers really need to think before writing the episodes because it is SO UNrealistic! By the way I only watched the last 15 minutes of the first part. Guess I will watch the rest since it is almost over and I do want to know the end. but I am glad it is the end!

  13. Lynn says

    We could care less if it returns. This show sure does show how brain dead the young people are. They shoot guns to soon or miss. A killer is allover the place and they still split up. A killer is walking towards them and they can’t climb over the fence to excape. People come up missing, and no one notices. Stupid, after stupid. My family and friends all started out watching, then emailing about it later, but as the shows got so idiotic they started viewing other shows. I’m down to only one son now watching and he said he would not watch another season. All we want now is to know who the other killer is. We’re done.

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