11:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
ABC's Alien Drama 'The Whispers' Canceled
It's one and done for ABC's The Whispers.
The network has canceled the summer drama after one season, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Co-star Milo Ventimiglia first shared the news on Twitter, telling a fan that season two was "sadly not happening."
Developed during the traditional 2014-2015 pilot season but benched until the typically low-rated summer, The Whispers initially was described as a race against the clock to defeat an unseen alien enemy out to destroy the world using children. ABC pulled back on the alien reveal from the pilot and turned the series into more of a mystery thriller.
The series opened to respectable returns — 1.5 million among adults 18-49 in its Monday at 10 p.m. slot — and ranked as ABC's highest-rated summer scripted premiere since the now-canceled Canadian import Rookie Blue. With three days of delayed viewing, that jumped 53 percent to a 2.3 — becoming the highest-rated three-day gainer among summer debuts on any network since CBS' Under the Dome in 2013. With seven days of DVR returns, it grew to a 2.5. While live viewership dipped,The Whispers remained a standout performer with the DVR set.
From Amblin Television and creator Soo Hugh (Under the Dome), the show ran into trouble when the options on the cast — including stars Lily Rabe, Barry Sloane and Ventimiglia — lapsed midway through its run, on June 30. ABC toyed with granting the series a second-season renewal by bringing the stars back for a limited run and bringing in new additions.
Producers on the drama had pitched a season two plan that involved "many but not all of the characters from season one," showrunner Zack Estrin told THR in June, when ABC was looking for a way to extend the options on the cast, including Rabe. Insiders say Rabe and other castmembers were not happy with the network's decision to shift the show from Los Angeles, where the pilot was filmed, to take advantage of tax incentives in Vancouver, Canada.
Of ABC's summer scripted series, only Mistresses — produced in-house via ABC Studios — will return, after the network axed Rookie Blue and limited-run drama The Astronaut Wives Club ended its run.
For Amblin TV, meanwhile, the company has seen its roster of originals slide of late after CBS canceled Under the Dome and Extant, TNT wrapped Falling Skies and Fox trimmed Minority Report. The fate of TNT's Public Morals remains unclear, while The Americans still remains a staple on FX. The company recently saw American Gothic picked up straight to series at CBS.