It’s not looking good for NBC’s new Aaron Sorkin show, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The show has consistently under-performed network expectations from the beginning and it now looks like the end could be near.
Prior to its debut on September 1st, Studio 60 got a ton of promotion (lots of network commercials, the pilot being made available as a free download and on DVD from NetFlix, and much more). There was no shortage of viewer buzz either. In fact, a study showed that out of 2.3 million mentions of the new fall shows, Studio 60 was mentioned almost 25 percent of the time.
Unfortunately, Studio 60 debuted to mixed reviews and drew a less-than-impressive 13.4 million viewers. It came in second place in its time slot, bested by the returning CBS procedural drama CSI: Miami.
Studio 60 has since dropped to third place in its time period, with just 7.7 million viewers watching last week. It doesn’t help that the preceding show, Heroes (NBC’s one runaway hit) attracted almost double the number of viewers with 14.3 million. That essentially means that 6.5 million people actively decided to turn off Bradley Whitford, Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet and company. That’s a huge drop. By contrast, CSI: Miami drew 17.5 million viewers on CBS in the same timeslot.
It’s been reported that NBC recently ordered three additional Studio 60 scripts (perhaps for contractual reasons) but that doesn’t ensure that they will be produced or aired. In fact, Roger Friedman of Fox News has said that castmembers are already telling their friends that the show is ending.
I’m guessing that NBC is waiting to see how the struggling Friday Night Lights does in Studio 60’s Monday night time slot. The Kyle Chandler series about a football team has received some of the best reviews of the season but hasn’t been drawing in large audiences on Tuesday nights. Because of the title of the show, perhaps many people assumed Lights was on Friday nights and not Tuesdays. Stranger things have happened.
If Lights does significantly better than Studio 60’s been doing on Mondays, the Aaron Sorkin show’s fate may be sealed. I would guess that Lights would keep the Monday night time slot and that Studio 60 would be moved to Tuesdays, or to another night where it can quietly finish its run — or until a show can be found to replace it. Please, no more episodes of Deal or No Deal!