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ABC is ending its Sunday night bleeding early.
The network has reduced the episode order of freshman drama Blood and Oil from 13 to 10 episodes, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The series will continue to air through the end of the calendar year in its current Sundays at 10 p.m. slot, at least for the time being.
Blood & Oil is one of several rookie series to have undergone major behind-the-scenes changes ahead of its premiere, including a showrunner change that was announced minutes after ABC presented the series to reporters at TCA.
Sources say creator Josh Pate’s (Moonlight) vision post-pilot never was fully embraced by the network, which was looking for more “OMG” moments a la Scandal. That didn’t work with the emotional soap that showrunner Cynthia Cidre (Dallas) and her team had written, which led to Jon Harmon Feldman (Dirty Sexy Money) being brought in to try and create what the network wants. The series — which also underwent numerous recastings — now is said to have two writers rooms, one led by Feldman and the other, featuring Cidre, given little to do.
Airing Sundays at 9 p.m., Blood & Oil has been the sore spot on ABC’s Sunday lineup. The soap starring Don Johnson and Chace Crawford, and marking the former’s TV return, opened soft to 6.3 million total viewers and has been bleeding viewers since. Its most recent broadcast collected only 3.5 million total viewers, making for a poor lead-in for fall hit Quantico, which has already been picked up for an additional six episodes. When factoring in three days of DVR returns, the premiere added only 36 percent among adults 18-49 bringing its haul to 1.9 million among the advertiser-coveted demo.
Blood and Oil joins fellow doomed freshman Minority Report (Fox) and The Player (NBC), who both saw their initial 13-episode orders reduced. Minority Report will wrap its run after 10, with Player after nine. ABC, meanwhile, has also granted a full-season order to comedy Dr. Ken, leaving fellow half-hour The Muppets as its lone freshman series whose fate remains unclear.
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