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ABC is cutting back on its drama offerings before its upfront next week.
The network has canceled first-year shows Alaska Daily and The Company You Keep as well as Big Sky, which ran for three seasons. They’re the first cancellations ABC has made this season; fellow drama A Million Little Things and comedy The Goldbergs announced their endings ahead of time.
Big Sky, from creator David E. Kelley, was a strong performer for ABC in its first season but ebbed some in subsequent years. The show’s third season, subtitled Deadly Trails, was, at 13 episodes, its shortest run, and seven-day Nielsen ratings declined by about 15 percent in total viewers (from 5.65 million to 4.85 million) and 17 percent in adults 18-49 (from 0.6 to 0.5).
Alaska Daily, starring Hilary Swank as a reporter trying to rebuild her career in the titular state, had the biggest total audience among the three canceled shows at 5.3 million viewers over seven days — but also the second smallest rating (0.41) among any ABC drama in the adults 18-49 demographic that’s key to advertisers. The Company You Keep, which stars This Is Us alum Milo Ventimiglia, never quite caught on in the post-American Idol spot on Sunday nights, averaging 3.78 million viewers and a 0.4 rating in the 18-49 demo.
Alaska Daily and The Company You Keep were both produced by ABC’s Disney sibling 20th Television; Big Sky is a co-production of 20th TV and A+E Studios.
ABC has yet to make decisions on four series — The Conners, Home Economics, Not Dead Yet and The Rookie: Feds — and has six pilots (four dramas and two comedies) in contention for the 2023-24 season. Decisions on those projects will be made next week, as sources say the Disney-owned network is still in talks with producers and the multiple outside studios behind many of the programs. ABC is expected to unveil its fall schedule on Tuesday morning. What remains unclear is if the network’s fall schedule will largely ignore the potential fallout from the Writers Guild of America strike (as CBS did) or take the work stoppage into account, more in line with NBC’s mostly strike-proof slate.
Keep track of all the broadcast cancellations, renewals and new series orders with The Hollywood Reporter’s network scorecard.
Additional reporting by Lesley Goldberg.
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