Pan Am: ABC’s Retro-Series; Cancel or Keep It?

Pan Am cancel or keepHopping on the Mad Men bandwagon, ABC recently began airing Pan Am on Sunday nights. The network’s been searching for some new hot dramas to replace Desperate Housewives and their aging medical series. Have they found the solution in a show named after a defunct airline or will this one just crash and be cancelled?

Pan Am follows the pilots and flight attendants that work for the world-famous airline in 1963. Dean (Mike Vogel) is a young pilot who’s just been promoted to captain. His co-pilot, Ted (Michael Mosely), is hiding a secret. Stewardess Maggie (Christina Ricci) isn’t afraid to push the limits, Colette (Karine Vanesse) flirts too much, and Kate (Kelli Garner) has taken on a dangerous side-job after helping her sister, Lara (Margot Robbie), become a runaway bride. While traveling the world, the flight crew have interesting brushes with history.

The series debuted on September 25th to a 3.1 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 11.06 million viewers. Those aren’t bad numbers but they’re hardly impressive either. Pan Am was second in the timeslot, behind NBC’s football coverage. Looking at the breakdown for the show’s ratings in quarter hour increments, about 10% of the demo audience tuned out before the episode was finished. That’s not terrible but certainly not positive either.

The second episode dropped 16% in the demo to a 2.6 rating with 7.76 million viewers. That’s a pretty normal second week drop-off but Pan Am really didn’t have many viewers to spare. Week three is where things really got bad.

Should Pan Am be cancelled?

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The third episode saw the demo drop by an astounding 27%. Did the people who tuned in for the second episode decide that they’d seen enough or, was the third week just a fluke?

Apparently it was the latter because the ratings dropped by another 5%, to a 1.8 in the demo with 5.84 million. Last night’s numbers held steady according the fast affiliate numbers. That’s positive but a 1.8 demo rating is certainly not.

Pan Am is currently the lowest-rated new show on ABC with an average of a 2.2 rating in the demo and 7.36 million. Those numbers will keep dropping unless future episodes perform significantly better. Of the 14 scripted shows currently on the network, Pan Am ranks 12th, beating only Body of Proof and already-cancelled Charlie’s Angels.

While Pan Am’s fate seems all but sealed, ABC doesn’t seem ready to throw in the towel just yet.

They’re reportedly bringing in veteran writer and producer Steven Maeda as showrunner. He previously worked on Miami Medical for CBS and Lie to Me for FOX. ABC execs, who apparently still really like Pan Am, want to hear Maeda’s story ideas before deciding on whether they want to order additional episodes for a full season.

It’s very likely too late to pull this show out of its downward spiral but perhaps ABC will get lucky and beat the odds. Typically, once viewers reject a show, it’s nearly impossible to get them to take another look.

What do you think? Should ABC keep Pan Am flying for a full season or should they just pull the plug and cancel it now?

Canceled and renewed TV show

288 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Geri says

    I think ABC should keep the show. It’s actually better than some of the sitcoms that are on now and don’t really make any sense. Please bring Pam Am back

  2. Milan says

    Keep it. Well produced quality drama is sparse enough on TV these days, without tossing another good one out!

  3. Mike Gallagher says

    What is going on here – Pan Am is a great new show. ABC needs to give it some more time to develope an audience. The audience so far is very dedicated – just look at the comments on Facebook. I love the cast members and love the look of the era. Come on ABC do not give up on this one yet – could be a sleeper with a great big awaikening coming next season. The word is out on it just like Revenge, which is the best new show on TV!!

  4. D ee says

    LOVE THE SHOW! KEEP THE SHOW! Finally something that isn’t stupid, degrading or just filty Come on….. keep the show!!!

  5. Bren says

    Entertaining, enjoyable and different type of show for late night on Sunday. I’d like to see it continue; where in the past my favorite shows were cancelled. Falcon Crest, Once and Again,Now and Again,Wind on Water and Everwood were cancelled without endings. SO frustrating for many of us and then waaaaaaaaaaay toooooooo many reality shows show up. There are so many people who aren’t sitting in bars or on line wasting our lives away, so television is our only enjoyment.

  6. Dee says

    Love this show! It’s great to be in the 60’s again if only for a hour. It just needs another time slot.

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