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. Arleen says

    Please keep it. I think it is an awesome series. It’s all about the fun of being a girl. Please everyone watch and help keep it on. You will not regret it.

  2. Hannah Beaty says

    I really enjoy Pan-Am! There are a lot of shows that are poor quality that have been on for years and have never been canceled. Why cancel a show that, in my opinion, has not had a chance to grow and develop? There are so many story lines and directions this show could go in. This show has really kept my interest and has brought me back week after week. Keep it around!

  3. Sally says

    Keep it going – characters are starting to develop, incredibly interesting period of time in history = I enjoy it and want Laura and Colleen well taken care of!

  4. Debi says

    I really enjoy Pan Am, the problem with it is not the show, but that there have been quite a few times that it was not aired and something else was put in the slot. Last week there was a Hallmark program. The week before Pan Am had aired, but the week before that it was not on, something else was on instead. I cannot remember what, but it is very disappointing to me to find that the network will put something else in it’s place every week or so and then think it’s the show’s fault if the ratings are lacking. Pan Am’s followers may have thought the program was already cancelled and they have gone on to something else. I don’t have one of those devices to watch a program later than when it is aired. I was so disappointed last week to find there was a Hallmark show in it’s place. I normally like Hallmark shows, but I boycotted it last week because I am sick of Pan Am’s shows being pre-empted with something else! PLEASE! I want to see PAN AM!

  5. Kt says

    P.S. Perhaps people think these characters are the proper, naive gals stereotypical of their era? Also, I’m 29. This show is not some nostalgic indulgence. Spread the word, people.

  6. Kt says

    What the hell. I watch this every Sunday I can. I go over to my Mom’s, and we watch it together. This show makes me want to turn on the TV. Too intelligent and adventurous for the average couch potato? All it needs is more marketing, silly executives. It will hook many quickly. If you build it . . .

  7. Katie says

    Please, keep the show alive! It brought back memories of the airline! Great show, interesting stories, wonderful cast!! Hardly can wait for the next showing! Please, do not take it off the air!

  8. jerry says

    We looked forward for every weekly show. It has situations, for different characters giving it a broad avenue of varity of shows. More like building a pyramid upside down, spreading out from one point to infinity. If the show was canceled, I hope it can be ressurected.

  9. Anonymous says

    Pan Am is a great show it’s easy for people who haven’t watched it to say it’s cheesy because I thought the same thing until I saw it. It is a great show it has history in it and romance this last episode was when President Kennedy was shot and the world reaction it put you in that time. The show gives you and understanding of what the world was like in those times it is real. You have to give this show a second season to grow. You have put it on Sunday competing with Football of course rating are going to be low. You have to let it grow and advertise the show as more then just old school clothes with pretty flight attendants. Make people see that the show is more than that by showing the places around the world they travel to and showing that they do get off the plane and have a life, show the history in the previews and advertisements so people know it has more to offer.

  10. tamara says

    cancel it this show looks cheesy and is annoying it has a silly plot and doesnt even work as a great escape kind of show.I tis a shame it could have been so much better but it is just dumb.

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