Tonight’s episode of Lipstick Jungle is the last episode shot for the NBC series. After a disappointing showing in the ratings, NBC opted not to order any additional episodes, effectively cancelling the TV show. Actress Brooke Shields subsequently proclaimed that the show hadn’t been cancelled and NBC started to backpedal a bit. Now, as we come to the end of the series’ second season, how do things stand?
Based on a best-selling book by Candace Bushnell, Lipstick Jungle follows the lives of three high-powered friends, played by Shields, Kim Raver, and Lindsay Price. The rest of the cast includes performers like Paul Blackthorne, Andrew McCarthy, Robert Buckley, Sarah Hyland, David Norona, Dylan Clark Marshall, Seth Kirschner, Matt Lauria, David Alan Basche, and Marcia DeBonis.
Jungle debuted on February 7, 2008 and attracted just 7.54 million viewers and a 2.9/8 rating/share of the 18-49 demographic. The rest of the season averaged fewer than six million viewers each week and, because of the writer’s strike, only seven installments were produced. Despite the weak ratings, NBC execs decided to take a chance and renewed Lipstick for a second season of 13 episodes. If the ratings warranted it, they could always order more.
Unfortunately, absence didn’t make fans’ hearts grow fonder and even fewer people tuned in to watch season two. Airing on Wednesday nights, Jungle averaged just over five million viewers per week.
As a result, the network eventually moved Shields and company to Friday nights, following the even weaker Crusoe. In that 10pm timeslot, the drama attracted a terrible average of just over 3.4 million. It was around this time that the network decided to pass on ordering additional episodes, effectively cancelling the show. With the paltry ratings, that came as no surprise.
Then, Shields made a public statement saying that the show hadn’t been cancelled and that the cast and crew were still working. Though that was true, her statement made the show’s prospects sound better than they were. Nothing had changed. The cast and crew were just finishing the existing 13 episode order. The writers cleaned out their offices in mid-November.
But, perhaps due to the media attention and viewer support, NBC started to backpedal a bit. The head of the network, Ben Silverman, said that he was actually waiting to see how well the final episodes performed before making up his mind about the show’s future. By all accounts, this is accurate.
This wait-and-see attitude is likely one of the reasons that Lipstick was shifted to the more attractive 9pm hour. Despite an uneven holiday schedule, Jungle’s audience has been steadily growing — climbing from 3.44 million to 4.17 million. That’s pretty decent growth, especially for a show that was essentially dumped onto Friday nights and that airs opposite Ghost Whisperer, a much more popular series that’s aimed at a similar demographic. Unfortunately, 4.17 million still isn’t very many viewers for a network show. If tonight’s ratings are even higher, will they be enough?
Where does Jungle stand? By all accounts, NBC still hasn’t made up its mind about the show’s future. After tonight, they’ll likely compile all the numbers and see if it makes financial sense to order additional episodes. It seems highly unlikely that the ladies will be back but it seems this little show still has some fight left in it. What do you think?