On Sunday, NBC unveiled their first big show of 2012 — The Firm. It’s based on the novel by John Grisham which had previously been adapted into a 1993 movie. The network has had mixed results basing shows on previous material. Prime Suspect and Bionic Woman were cancelled. Friday Night Lights and Parenthood have been moderate successes. Where will this one land?
The Firm revolves around attorney Mitch McDeere (Josh Lucas) who, along with his wife Abby (Molly Parker) and their daughter Claire (Natasha Calis), had been in the witness protection program for 10 years. They relocate to Washington, DC to restart their lives but problems from the past start to surface once more. The show’s cast also includes Callum Keith Rennie, Juliette Lewis, Tricia Helfer, and Shaun Majumder.
The series got off to a poor start on Sunday night. The two-hour premiere attracted a meager 1.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic with just 6.32 million viewers. The Firm was fourth (last) in its timeslot at 9pm and in second place at 10pm, just barely topping ABC’s troubled Pan Am. Looking at the half-hour ratings, it’s easy to see that some viewers tuned out before the two episodes had finished airing. A sign that they probably won’t be back to watch the next episode.
Compared with last year’s two-hour premiere of The Cape, NBC was down by a staggering 46% in the demo and 25% in total viewers. You may recall that The Cape was cancelled after just 10 episodes and NBC burned off the last episode online.
NBC is airing the third hour of The Firm this evening — on the most competitive night of the week. That may have seemed like a good idea initially but, in light of the show’s debut numbers, it’s expected to be a disaster.
The Firm debuted with a C- grade on our ratings report card and in ninth place. That’s essentially the same ranking as The Playboy Club, the first cancelled series of the fall season.
Unless there’s some sort of unexpected ratings miracle, it looks like The Firm is sure to be cancelled. The big question is “when?” On the positive side, NBC has already committed to 22 episodes. If the ratings fall as expected though, I suspect that they may slash that order to cut their losses.
But, what do you think? Are the ratings an accurate reflection of this show’s quality. Do you think The Firm should be quickly cancelled or kept on the air long enough to perhaps grow and secure a second season?
Image courtesy NBC.