Many people first became aware of actor Jimmy Smits when he co-starred back on NBC’s LA Law in the 1990s. He’s worked on many TV shows since then — The West Wing, Cane, NYPD Blue — with varying levels of success. Now, he’s back in the courtroom again, playing a lawyer on NBC’s Outlaw. How will this new series work out for him? A big success or a quick cancellation?
Outlaw follows a Supreme Court Justice (Smits) who decides to step down and go back to being a lawyer to fight injustices. The NBC series also stars Carly Pope, David Ramsey, Jesse Bradford, and Ellen Woglom.
NBC gave Outlaw a special preview on Wednesday September 15th, in the plum spot of following the season finale of America’s Got Talent. The series premiere was reasonably sampled with a 2.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 10.68 million viewers. Those are okay numbers on their own but it’s not a good sign that Outlaw lost a significant amount of America’s Got Talent’s lead-in audience — 42% in the demo and 35% of total viewers.
A couple days later, in its regular Friday night timeslot on the 17th, NBC reran the pilot episode. Outlaw performed terribly but, after all, it was a repeat. The rerun attracted just a 0.9 in the demo and 3.93 million viewers. The NBC execs were surely hoping originals would perform better.
Not so much. This past Friday, episode two of Outlaw only mustered a 1.1 rating in the all-important demo ratings and 4.99 million viewers (per the overnights). It was in last place in both categories and lost a large percentage of its lead-in audience from Dateline. Last year, an episode of The Jay Leno Show even did better with a 1.6 and 5.79 million.
With ratings like these, it’s hard to imagine that NBC would bother ordering more episodes beyond the initial 13 installments. They may in fact decide to pull the show altogether and plug in repeats of another series. It looks like it’ll soon be back to the drawing board for Mr. Smits.
What do you think? Did you watch Outlaw? Do you like it? Is it worth saving or should it just be cancelled?
Image courtesy NBC.