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. joann says

    seems like every time i like a new series it gets cancelled. i used to watch local tv series like er,lost csi and numbers and time the new season started they would show 1 or 2 new ones and show 3 or 4 reruns i got so fed up with it i stopped watching them. now they have some good ones on this year and they’re canceling them too. i like prime suspect, now they are going to cancel. WHY?

  2. Gloria Paull says

    Prime Suspect is gutsy and gritty, about flawed cops who struggle with their own problems while solving cases. It is a thousand times better than most of the bilge the networks keep pumping out. But maybe I’ll just turn off the TV altogether if it truly goes under, and get back to reading instead of watching. Maria Bello rules!

  3. Carole says

    I’d hate to see Prime Suspect cancelled. I enjoy it as much as the UK version. At least it isn’t as dark. Please tell Maria Bello, who I think is just great, to lose the hat, please.

  4. says

    Prime Suspect is the best new drama on TV, period. It’s been given an inferior timeslot. Put Prime Suspect in prime time and it will draw an audience for a continuing run. The writing and supporting characters make it The Real Deal. TV executives should try to be creative for just a minute. Take off your green eyeshade and give it a real chance. Put it in prime time for a mature audience, not when they have gone to bed and only bubblegum chewers are left up. It’s really that simple

  5. Rick says

    Great acting, writing, storylines, photography and musical score. Of course since this isn’t a contest involving dancing, singing, weight loss, some cities housewives or the Kardashians it’s going to get canned. As Hawaii five-o blows up half of the islands and gets critical acclaim, pluuuease! Being a retired Detroit cop this show has more of the inner workings of a real police dept. than any Law & Order. If course they take liberties with a lot of the situations to pump it up, as does any show. This is a great show in the same vein as “The Closer”and “In plain Sight” Come on NBC find it a spot that it stays at every week and quit showing reruns all over the place. If you can’t leave it on NBC move it to USA where it will be a major draw. Please don’t just cancel this excellent show.

  6. Glenn says

    This is a gritty police show where Timmony doesn’t where highheels and low cut shirts. I think O’byern is like so many Chicago cops. This is a “Hill Street Blues” cop show. It is great, and the screen plays are better than most of the fluff on TV.

  7. Glenn says

    This is a gritty police show where Timmons doesn’t where highheels and low cut shirts. I think O’byern is like so many Chicago cops. This is a “Hill Street Blues” cop show.

  8. Dawn Rodgers says

    This is my favourite T.V. show. The charactors are the most interesting and the charactor development most compelling. I look forward to it every week. Each one is a solid story and to be honest, it is way better than so many other shows on. I really hope NBC keeps it.

  9. Cindi says

    Well said William! As far as the network “promoting” Prime Suspect by repeating the episode, I found this irritating and ineffective because they showed the SAME episode over and over on various days; thus I had NO idea of Prime Suspect’s REAL timeslot! Very frustrating and I tired of seeing the SAME episode OVER and OVER! Prime Suspect is a great show and I am watching it faithfully but ON DEMAND and after the fact because I have no clue when it actually airs! Promote it but don’t over saturate the SAME episode; some of us viewers out here (I’m 54 and my 15 year old daughter loves it) are actually searching for a well thought out DRAMA to watch on TV; not another stupid comedic series!

  10. Thomas says

    In all fairness since NBC was airing repeat episodes everyday in their 10 pm time slot I think they “HELPED” the series as much as possible I’ve never heard of a network except the CW airing repeat episodes of a series every night the CW did this with “The Vampire Diaries” during it’s first season to get people caught up when it came back from hiatus.

    I think people rejected the series because it wasn’t the “Prime Suspect” with Helen Mirren, which at the time was controversial and a fresh idea, but considering that there are a lot female police chiefs as well as female detectives, it didn’t make any sense that they would bill the series as a series about a woman in a male dominated department in the NYPD, all the Law & Order franchise series have or had female detectives and the original had a black female lead as a Lieutenant in charge of a precinct.

    Helen Mirren did the first “Prime Suspect 20 years ago so the premise she was working with about a male dominated department made a statement 20 years ago, but when you still have “Law & Order: SVU” still on the air with a female detective as the lead it’s kind of to sell a series in this day and age about gender bias, not that it doesn’t happen, but all the Law & Order franchises were set in NYC except one.

    I like Maria Bello but she’s no Helen Mirren

  11. Andrea Ray Smith says

    Prime Suspect is one of the best dramatic shows EVER. The characters are flawed but believeable, the story lines are intriguing and unique and the acting is superior to anything I’ve seen in years. The perfect show to cancel, right? Give this show a better chance to live for those of us who are fed up with watching junk of television.

  12. Kay says

    I love Prime Suspects, it’s the best developed show on the air, NBC needs to give it more time and get rid of crap like Community,Chuck, or the newly ruined Office.

  13. Barb says

    Prime Suspect is a terrific show and Maria Bello is fantastic. I suppose they thought they’d draw people in by using this title; they should have gone with something different. There was too much comparison to the original, and when the pilot didn’t live up to it, people left. However, I think it has been very good ongoing, and it really deserves to continue. Maybe NBC can move it to the USA network.

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