Because of the backstage issues, NBC delayed Parenthood’s Fall premiere and replaced it with a series that was scheduled for midseason, Mercy. Some wondered if having two new medical series might cause one to suffer. It turns out, Mercy and Trauma are both in critical condition.
Mercy follows the lives of three very different nurses at Mercy Hospital in Jersey City. The cast includes Taylor Schilling, Jaime Lee Kirchner, Michelle Trachtenberg, James Tupper, Diego Klattenhoff, Guillermo Diaz, James LeGros, James Van Der Beek, and Delroy Lindo.
The series got off to a mediocre start on September 23, 2009. The premiere attracted a 2.3 rating in the all-important 18-49 demographic and 8.25 million total viewers. That put the debut in fourth place for the demo and in second place for total viewers.
The second episode fell to a 2.1 rating and 7.35 million. The third installment dropped again to a 1.8 rating in the demo and 7.29 million viewers. Not good.
Though the show’s ratings could hardly be called strong, NBC gave Mercy a full season order in October. The rest of the network’s schedule was performing poorly and the order likely had most to do with the fact that NBC just needed original programming. It didn’t hurt that the series is a co-production of NBC’s corporate sister, Universal Media Studios.
Meanwhile, Trauma struggled from the very beginning and NBC pulled the plug after 13 episodes. But then, based on the need for more programming, the network ordered seven more installments. That show returns on March 8th but is a big longshot for renewal.
While Mercy was initially the better performer, the show’s ratings have now reached Trauma-like levels. The most recent episode of Mercy hit a series low with a dismal 1.4 rating in the demo and just 5.86 million viewers.
NBC’s Primetime Entertainment President Angela Bromstad recently said that she still loves the drama creatively, but she also noted that the show’s ratings need to rise for it to survive. She made that statement before Mercy fell to its most recent low.
The network has commissioned 18 pilots for the 2010-11 season and Bromstad has acknowledged that they’ll have to essentially rebuild their schedule from scratch.
What do you think? Would you be sorry to see Mercy cancelled? Is it worth watching? Is there a reason that more viewers aren’t tuning in?
Image courtesy NBC.