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?

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185 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Haylei says

    WOW I really love watching Harper’s Island. I was nothing like any of the other shows it kept you guessing and thats why i loved it. PLEASE BRING ANOTHER SEASON OF HARPERS ISLAND BACK !!!!!!!

  2. says

    Cbs is going reality shows that everybody watches and taking off the good stuff like HARPER’S ISLAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! bring it back.

  3. beth says

    i really love this show from start to finish i am watching them all over again and i want to buy the movie i love jimmy and abby.. they did a great job and i want them to be in more of them so please make another one we all want you to and you never know people may start to like it if you do make another one… it was really sad that chloe and cal died… but if you do make another one you should make the killer some one knew that comes into the 2nd season it will be great please make another one we all want it BACK please

  4. Anonymous says

    While my 12 year old cousin was at my house, she insisted on going online to show me the screen saver on her computer, it was all of the characters on Harpers Island. I had never seen or even heard of the show, she went on youtube and showed me the scene where she cried because her favorite characters were killed (Cal & Chloe). I since went to the cbs website and watched all 13 episodes and loved the show! I sincerely hope that it will be back on, i will be sure to tune in!

  5. maggie says

    harpers island was my favorite show. i looked foward to it every week. pleaseeee bring it back. its an crazy awesome show. i LOVEEEEEEEEEEE it.

  6. Renn says

    I loved Harper’s Island, and honestly think that CBS will get a lot of trash if there isn’t a second season. It kept me and my friends on our feet, excitedly waiting for the next weeks episode to come along. I’m crushed to hear the news about the hopeful second season. I hope it works out for the best. GO HARPER’S ISLAND :)

  7. Christy says

    I ABSOLUTELY loved Harper’s Island. It was one of the best murder mystery shows. The storyline was excellent, as was the cast and acting. I too, was completely shocked at the ending. This show was extremely thrilling and intense. I watched every episode. I did have the series set up for DVR because I wouldn’t want to miss one minute of the show. I truly hated to see it end, and would faithfully watch a new season. FANTASTIC show…we want more!!

  8. shelby s says

    i absolutley loved harpers island. i would be delighted to have another episode, and would faithfully watch it. i loved the fact that it was so thrilling.

  9. CarolAnn says

    I watched the first episode and the finale with my daughter….she watches it faithfully and totally loves it….I was shocked at the finale and what they did with Henry…I am planning to watch repeat episodes and hopefully they come back to aire next season even though I don’t know what the heck they would do as far as bring back the killer maybe….henry didn’t die after all…or his Dad…hmmm

  10. SLD says

    Well I am shocked that this show did not do well on ratings. Not sure why it switched from Thursday to Saturday but I really enjoyed the series. I taped every show so it really didn;t matter to me what night of the week it was on. The show kept you counting the days for the next episode. Was a nice switch from all the reality shows and Criminal investigation shows and how bout another competition show or law show??? Come on bring us another one and advertise it better and keep it on the same night so ppl don’t lose interest!

  11. megan says

    i LOVED it!!! i loved every episode..i think they killed them off one by one in a good order(the order of people)…i was totally shocked on the season finale that it was henry and that he could kill his best friend and his fiance (who he came to love but killed her anyway) and i be soooo happy (i cant even describe how happy i would be) if it came out on dvd!! if i could i would give it am million thumbs up!!! : ) i also reallllly hope they make more of them with different places and different people and stuff like that!! : )))))

  12. Jill says

    We all loved this show. Whether is was on a weekday or Saturday night. We were true fans. Bring a 2ns series about Abby and Jimmy!!!

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