It seemed like only a matter of time before one of the networks would pull another one of its struggling serial dramas. Now, ABC’s The Nine has been yanked from the primetime schedule. Will it return?
The Nine was billed as a complex character drama series that unraveled the mystery of what transpired during a bank robbery turned 52-hour hostage situation in Los Angeles. Chronological flashbacks of what happened inside the bank opened each episode and was followed by how the harrowing experience impacted the series’ key nine characters in the present day. Their relationships to each other continued to intertwine, deepen and complicate their lives.
The Nine starred television veterans like Tim Daly, Kim Raver, Scott Wolf and Chi McBride. It debuted on Wednesday, October 4th, following the third season debut of Lost. It attracted strong ratings of 11.9 million viewers, giving ABC its strongest ratings in that timeslot in almost a year and handily beat NBC’s Kidnapped (only 5.1 million viewers). Unfortunately, The Nine has been losing viewers ever since. More specifically, it has been losing a significant number of audience members from its lead-in show. Lost has averaged 17.7 million viewers while less than half of that number (approximately 8.6 million people) stuck around to watch The Nine each week. Last week, without the benefit of the Lost lead-in, the number of Nine viewers shrank to only 4.1 million. It comes as no surprise that ABC has pulled The Nine after seven episodes.
Though ABC is not officially calling this a cancellation, the show has been pulled from the schedule effective immediately. A special edition of 20/20 will air in its place on Wednesday, November 29th and Primetime will take its place after that.
Will it return? Hard to say. No return date has been set which makes it a return unlikely, especially since serial dramas depend on audiences remembering events in previous episodes. However, ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson is said to be a big supporter of the show and is frustrated by its ratings problems — giving the show a better chance of returning.
ABC initially ordered 13 episodes of The Nine and then, on October 27th, ordered four additional scripts. It should be noted that The Nine has not received an order for a full season of 22 episodes (unlike other struggling shows), indicating an overall lack of faith by ABC. Its unclear how many episodes have been shot thus far or if production has been halted. A second season seems very unlikely and nearly impossible.
ABC does make many of its shows available online and via iTunes so it is probable that the remaining episodes will be available online at some point in the future.