After four seasons on ABC Family, teen drama Wildfire ends tonight. Devoted fans are understandably upset. So, why is it leaving?
Wildfire debuted back on June 25, 2005 and revolves around the world of horse racing. The series began with teen Kristine “Kris” Furillo (Genevieve Cortese) coming to the Raintree Farm from a juvenile detention center.
Season one averaged just over a million weekly viewers and season two increased to 1.56 million, an increase of over 50%. Unfortunately, season three dropped back to the first year’s numbers. Season four debuted in January. Soonafter, ABC Family announced that Wildfire had been cancelled.
Fans have petitioned ABC Family to continue the series. The folks at SaveWildfire.com have sent truckloads of hay, 500 cast iron horseshoes, apples, rope, and 1,000 pounds of carrots. Unfortunately, it’s higher ratings and additional viewers that the show really needs. As CBS learned from Jericho, a passionate campaign doesn’t necessarily mean that viewers will tune in.
ABC Family’s media relations manager, Amy Maloney, told the Albuquerque Journal that the fan support doesn’t come as much of a surprise. She said, “It is par for the course, in a sense that we’ve always known there is a strong fan base for the show… It’s flattering. It’s exciting.” In other words, Wildfire has a core audience but it’s not big enough for ABC Family.
Word is that Lionsgate, the company that produces the series, is looking for a new home for Wildfire. If the series is renewed, producer Lester Berman the cast and crew are ready. He says, “We’re saving a lot of the set dressing and the uniforms. We’re putting it in storage just in case there’s a miracle that [Wildfire] comes back.”
When the cast and crew wrapped their filming in June 2007, they were unsure if they would be back for season five. A few months ago, Cortese spoke proudly of Wildfire and the season four closer. She said, “I think we have one of the best casts and crews in television… On the other hand, we also end (this season) on a really cool note. I’d be glad to go back and get to work again with people I love, but if not, at least I’ll know we did a great job.” Stay tuned!