MRC made a deal with the CW last Spring to essentially buy the network’s three hours of Sunday night airtime. The company began airing three original series two weeks ago. In Harm’s Way is a reality series that chronicles dangerous professions and the people who do them. Easy Money centers around a family-run loan shark business and Valentine follows a group of mythological gods as they try to guide mortals to find true love.
All three series debuted to very low ratings and the most recent installments dropped by an average of 25%. When compared to last year’s near-disastrous CW programming on the same night, this marks an almost 40% decrease.
Production of Easy Money and Valentine is being shut down for the next four to six weeks. The casts and crews were informed of the stoppage on Friday. It’s believed that both shows will have completed eight episodes. A spokesperson for MRC says that the hiatus was pre-planned to allow the series’ writers to get ahead. If that’s true, one would think that the casts and crews would have known about the shutdown well in advance.
MRC is contracted to fill the Sunday night airtime for the entire 2008-09 season and is reportedly still committed to producing 13 episodes of each series. The plan is to air the already-produced episodes through late November. The five as-yet-unproduced episodes will be shown beginning in January. In light of the shows’ poor ratings, MRC is likely using the production hiatus to reevaluate if it still makes sense, financially, to produce them.
As a side note, no mention’s been made about In Harm’s Way shutting down. Since it’s a reality series, it’s cheaper to produce and is likely on a different production schedule.
So, what does this all mean for the shows’ small audience? If Easy Money and Valentine were regular network series, they’d probably be cancelled by now. But, since MRC is buying the timeslots, the show’s fates ultimately depend on MRC. Is it worth producing programming that so few people are watching? Even if MRC finishes the 13 episodes, they surely won’t be making any more. Stay tuned!
Image courtesy Media Rights Capital.