Prime Suspect: Essentially Cancelled? Can It Be Saved?

Prime Suspect canceled yetNBC’s remake of the UK police drama, Prime Suspect, was one of the most anticipated new series of the new fall season. Unfortunately, it hasn’t lived up to expectations. It’ll surely be cancelled and now, it’s just a question of when. Has NBC even tried to save it?

Prime Suspect revolves around tough-as-nails Detective Jane Timoney (Maria Bello) as she works in the male-dominated homicide department of the NYPD. The show also stars Aidan Quinn, Brian O’Byrne, Tim Griffin, Kirk Acevedo, Joe Nieves, Damon Gupton, and Peter Gerety.

The series debuted on September 22nd to a 1.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 6.05 million total viewers. Most new series at least get solid ratings for their debut but Prime Suspect was a disappointment right out of the gate and was in a distant third place in its timeslot. What’s more, many viewers didn’t stick around for the whole premiere episode, an indication that they wouldn’t be returning for the second episode.

And they didn’t. Prime Suspect dropped 17% in the demo in week two to a 1.5 rating and 5.7 million viewers. As the weeks have progressed, things have only gotten worse and worse.

To their credit, NBC execs didn’t give up on the series. They’ve been airing reruns on Saturday nights. When Playboy Club was cancelled, they filled the timeslot with repeats of Prime Suspect. Interestinly, that added exposure didn’t help and could potentially have hurt the show because the ratings for Thursday night originals kept falling.

Should NBC cancel Prime Suspect?

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Two weeks ago, NBC decided to give the series even more exposure by replacing all of their weekday 10pm shows with Prime Suspect repeats. The result? Thursday’s original episode fell to an all time low; with a 1.1 rating and 4.03 million viewers.

For whatever reason, it’s clear that the vast majority of the viewing public has rejected this show. NBC has given them plenty of chances to see the show and they don’t want it.

At this point, the only reason that NBC hasn’t pulled Prime Suspect off the air is that they don’t have anything better to take its place, times are tough, and they’ve already paid for the episodes.

NBC ordered 13 episodes for season one and there’s simply no reason for them to order any more. With numbers like these, Prime Suspect is all but officially cancelled. It’s just a question of when NBC decides to call the time of death.

But, what do you think? Is the show better than what the ratings indicate? Why aren’t more people watching? Do you think Prime Suspect still has a chance at being renewed or should it just be cancelled now?

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72 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. D'Arcy von Feist says

    I so hope NBC reconsiders. This is such a tremendous show. I was glad to see they tried to get a bigger audience and had “Prime Suspect Week” and I’m stunned that more people aren’t watching this show : (

    I’m a huge fan of Law & Order: SVU but have barely watched the new season, believing the show has probably run its course and, as it’s fizzling, Prime Suspect would make such a strong ‘replacement’ for that genre of show.

  2. roaddog 5 says

    Didn’t M*A*S*H take a while to find an audience? I really like this show. Good writing and interesting characters. Hello, NBC you’re driving me to Roku !

  3. William says

    Superior TV! It’s lack of viewership unfortunately tells us a great deal about about what has happened to society in the last ten years. If it’s a solid, well scripted drama-skip it, if it is superior acting-skip it, if it’s a show with a good message – skip it, if it has good looking younger actors who don’t come close to looking realistic for their characters-watch it. If it’s about morons acting like morons- watch it, etc.. etc.,. etc..And most importantly – let five hundred homes, and one, albeit large but new-gen age group, decide what goes or stays.

  4. tvgeek67 says

    I love this show. One of the few of the new season I REALLY like. So sad. Never saw the Mirren version, but this one is great. I’m going to stick with BBCA where I can catch Whitechapel and Luther. Apparently this is the only place for great drama anymore, oh and HBO.

  5. says

    I resisted this show because I had seen all of the UK ones with Helen Mirren. I caught an episode of this and I really like it, despite the fact that many of the male cops are way too sexist (the original in the UK was twenty years ago; grow up, guys). I hope they do order more shows, but NBC people don’t get it. They put a new show on NBC opposite “Castle” and “Hawaii 5-0″ both in the top twenty in the ratings. NBC, your glory days are gone.

  6. Gene says

    This show is terrific. There is drama along with an undertone of humor. Good story lines. Give it some time. Move it away from the Mentalist.

  7. Brian O'Blivion says

    It’s a tough show to love. The first episode was extremely unpleasant; I’m not surprised that many never even made it to the end. The show has improved since then, but it still features a snotty and unlikable protagonist who wears ridiculous hats (and odd designer dresses, on occasion), a hostile workplace, and awkward plot lines. I will be sorry if they let the show die, but I think they really messed up the tone at the start and still don’t know quite what they’re doing.

    • George says

      I like to see her as a flawed character that actually develops. Also the stories feel fresh and don’t resolve the same way as other typical crime procedurals.

      This show is only thing close to a complex crime drama on broadcast. Last spring we had the Chicago Code. Fox execs idiotically canceled it.

  8. Pauline says

    I absolutely love this show. Maria Bello is just the greatest. I just love
    watching her, she has that dry sense of humor. All the characters are great.
    Please don’t cancel this show!!!!!!

  9. says

    I really like this show and I am very picky. The character interactions are awesome.
    This is much better than most other shows on tv now. PLEASE continue
    giving it a chance. This show is SMART!!!

  10. Tom says

    I can’t understand NBC’s logic here. When I compare this show against all the other new shows that debuted this season, ‘Prime Suspect’ is just light-years better than anything else that NBC introduced this year. It has interesting characters with real depth — not just shallow caricatures and stereotypes like you see on most of their other recent shows. And there’s plenty of high-energy action here as well; so it’s not just a drama — but a gripping action/adventure series as well.

    Maybe the real problem is NBC and their scheduling of the series. They seem to be treating ‘Prime Suspect’ as just filler that they can throw in any time slot where they need to plug a programming hole. I think they OVER-exposed the show. By running it in so many different time slots, it gets confusing to viewers as to when the show REALLY airs with new episodes. Why not stop showing re-runs of it all over the place; and just stick with a once-a-week time slot where everyone knows they can find it — and where they know they’ll find the current (i.e NEW) episodes?

    The problem here isn’t with ‘Prime Suspect’. The problem is with the programming executives at NBC!

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