To no surprise to anyone, NBC has cancelled quarterlife after a single episode on the air.
The series was conceived by Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, the creative team behind shows like thirtysomething, Once and Again, and My So-Called Life. The show follows the life of online writer Dylan Krieger (Bitsie Tulloch) and her friends. The rest of the cast includes Kevin Christy, Scott Michael Foster, Michelle Lombardo, Maite Schwartz, Barrett Swatek, and David Walton.
The quarterlife series began as a group of eight-minute episodes that debuted online via MySpace.com. During the writers strike, NBC made a deal to group several segments together and run them in primetime as hour-long episodes.
The series kicked off on NBC with a special preview episode on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, few cared or watched – quarterlife attracted a dismal 3.1 million viewers and a 1.3 rating/4 share with the 18-49 demographic. This represents a 17-year low in the 10pm timeslot for the peacock network.
The drama was scheduled to begin its regular run on Sunday nights beginning March 2nd but NBC has now cancelled it. They’ll be filling the timeslot with Deal or No Deal, Law & Order, and as well as repeats of USA Network’s Monk and Psych.
After ratings like that, quarterlife’s cancellation comes as no big shock to anyone, particularly Herskovitz. As part of a speech at the Harvard Business School on Wednesday, Herskovitz said that the show about a twenty-something blogger is “too specific” for network television and predicted that the series would “probably end up on cable.”
Earlier today, Hershovitz said, “We’re deeply grateful for NBC’s efforts to make quarterlife a success on network television. However, I’ve always had concerns about whether quarterlife was the kind of show that could pull in the big numbers necessary to succeed on a major broadcast network. He continued, “We live in a media world today where many shows are considered successful on cable networks with audiences that are a fraction of those on the Big Four. I’m confident that quarterlife will find the right home on television as well.”
NBC’s co-chair Ben Silverman believes that putting the web series on network TV was worth the attempt, saying, “The website traffic went up a huge amount and we continue to try new things and new models. It’s very inexpensive but we hoped for higher ratings.”
It turns out that Hershovitz’s projections were correct and quarterlife will move to NBC’s sister cable outlet, Bravo. The series will also continue to made available online via MySpaceTV.com and likely NBC.com. Stay tuned!
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Mar 1, 2009