Sadly, Lie to Me’s fate is still undecided. The FOX drama was given a full season renewal in November but the network has delayed its return until after the May sweeps period. That’s exactly a show of faith. And now, showrunner Shawn Ryan has jumped ship.
Lie to Me follows Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth), a human lie detector, and his team of experts who help law officials solve their most difficult cases. The cast also includes Kelli Williams, Brendan Hines, Mekhi Phifer, and Monica Raymund.
Last season, Lie to Me had a very healthy series premiere with a 4.9 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 12.37 million viewers. Those numbers slowly melted away though and, by the end of the season, dipped to a low of a 2.3 in the demo and 7.75 million. Despite the decline, FOX renewed Lie to Me for a second season of 13 episodes. Shawn Ryan (The Shield) was brought in as a new showrunner.
Year two kicked off in September to a 2.9 rating and 7.73 million viewers. Though Lie to Me was losing a significant percentage of the House lead-in, FOX gave the series a full season renewal and added nine episodes. Soonafter, Lie to Me hit a new low with a 2.2 rating and 6.64 million viewers.
FOX put the series on hiatus in December and it already looked destined to be on the bubble for a third season renewal.
It was expected that Lie to Me would return before the end of the 2009-10 season but FOX chose instead to hold original episodes until June 7th. That means they won’t air until after the May sweeps period and until after FOX has announced their 2010-11 schedule.
FOX execs could make their decision based on Lie to Me’s existing ratings data. Or, they could wait until after some more original episodes have aired in the lesser-watched summer months. Neither option is likely to put Lie to Me in a very positive light.
Now, it’s been announced that Ryan, the program’s well-respected showrunner, has decided to leave the show. He’s already committed to a new drama he created for FX called Terriers. It also looks likely that FOX will pick up his other new show, Ride Along.
While none of this means that Lie to Me will necessarily be cancelled, it’s certainly not positive news — especially if FOX execs like what they see in Ride Along. Why stick with a show that’s lost Ryan as a showrunner and has been losing viewers when you can pick up Ryan’s new show that’ll get some attention and might do a lot better. FOX may make a decision about season three at the upfronts next Monday or not for a couple months.
Whether Lie to Me is renewed or cancelled, it seems very likely that viewers will still get to see all 12 of the remaining episodes for this season.
What do you think? Does Lie to Me have a good chance of returning for season three? What would you do — keep it or cancel it and go with something new?
Image courtesy FOX.