Though October Road debuted to strong ratings, ABC plans to cut the freshman drama’s season short and only air two-thirds of the episodes. Why?
The new October Road drama on ABC (no relation to the 2002 James Taylor album) tells the story of a young and famous NYC writer named Nick Garrett (played by Bryan Greenberg). Nick authored an extremely popular book which was essentially a “tell all” novel based on his home of Knights Ridge, Massachusetts. He subsequently gets a bad case of writer’s block and decides its time to return to his hometown after ten years away. As you might guess, his reception isn’t exactly a warm one. In addition to Greenberg, the series features Laura Prepon (That ’70’s Show), Tom Berenger, Warren Christie, Brad William Henke, Evan Jones, Jay Paulson, Slade Pearce, Geoff Stults (7th Heaven) and Odette Yustman.
Following a new episode of Grey’s Anatomy, October Road debuted on March 15, 2007 to great numbers. Despite mixed reviews, Road attracted 13.93 million viewers and came in at #9 for the week. The second episode lost 16% of its previous audience and about a half of lead-in Grey’s Anatomy’s viewers. Still, Road performed much better than Six Degrees or Men in Trees had in the same timeslot. You would think that ABC would be anxious to air the rest of the season’s episodes. You would be incorrect.
Like more and more new shows, October Road’s initial season is a short one, consisting of only six episodes. Rather than run all six of them to keep viewers hooked, ABC plans to air only four of them this season. If the show gets picked up for another year, the remaining two episodes will be broadcast at that time. ABC did the same thing to Grey’s Anatomy its first year.
You can view this stockpiling as either pretty good assurance that Road will return for season two or, that ABC execs don’t have faith in the series. The final decision will have a lot to do with how well episodes three and four perform. If Road’s audience continues to erode, it probably won’t be back. We’ll likely know by mid-May what ABC decides to do. Stay tuned!