ABC has been searching for new hit dramas to replace their older ones for some time. Lost went off the air in 2010, Brothers & Sisters was cancelled last May, and Desperate Housewives is ending next spring. Last season, Body of Proof was the only new drama that held any promise and ABC renewed it. In retrospect, was that a mistake?
Body of Proof stars Dana Delany as Doctor Megan Hunt, a former neurosurgeon who became a medical examiner after a serious car accident. Megan can be difficult to work with but won’t give up until she gets answers and expects the best from herself and her co-workers. Others in the cast include Jeri Ryan, Nicholas Bishop, Geoffrey Arend, Windell D. Middlebrooks, John Carroll Lynch, and Sonja Sohn.
The show debuted in late March 2011 to a 3.1 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 13.94 million viewers. In light of the failures of ABC’s other new dramas, this one looked very promising. The rating numbers fell off pretty quickly for subsequent episodes but the first season still ended up averaging a 2.3 rating in the demo and 11.13 million viewers. Performance-wise, Body of Proof was in the middle of the pack as the eighth most-watch show of ABC’s season (out of 18 scripted series).
Last season ended with a disappointing 2.1 demo rating and this season didn’t start off much better, registering a 2.2 with 9.4 million viewers. The numbers have gotten even worse and the show has hit a series low of a 1.8 in the demo on three occasions. The seven episodes that have aired so far this season have averaged a 1.9 in the demo and 9.45 million, a decline of 17% in the demo when compared to last year’s average.
The show is currently the lowest-rated scripted series on the network. Though total viewership is fairly positive, unless the demo ratings get better, it’s hard to imagine that we’ll see ABC ordering any more episodes or a third season.
On the positive side, ABC only aired nine of the 13 installments that were produced for season one. Since the show started so late in the season, execs chose to hold the remaining four until season two. Combined with a typical second season order for 13 installments, they have 17 episodes for the 2011-12 season. Given the current numbers, that’s likely as close as Body of Proof is going to get to a full season order.
But, what do you think? Is Body of Proof still worth watching? Should ABC stick with it or just cancel it already?
Image courtesy ABC.