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Even though The Whispers is just airing its fifth episode this week, cast options deadlines are forcing ABC to decide the fate of the show much earlier than normal. That’s putting extra pressure on a show that is still struggling to find a live viewing audience.
So will there be a season two? How will the show’s bubble status impact the conclusion of season one? THR spoke with The Whispers showrunner Zack Estrin to get the details.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from ABC so far? Do you have a sense if the show is going to get picked up for a second season?
The challenge is that we live in this DVR world. Our live numbers are OK, but our three days later audience is tremendous. I think it was up 63 percent last week after three days. So people are watching the show, they’re just choosing to watch it a day or two later. And some of that has to do with the fact that it’s 10 p.m. and it’s a creepy show. A lot of people are like, “I think I’m going to watch that one when it’s a little bit brighter out.” So the network is wrestling with the fact that there is clearly an audience for this show, but how do we get them to watch it live?
And you’re facing some contract issues as well.
Yes. We also are in the funky situation where they have to make this renewal decision a lot quicker than they normally would. We were supposed to be on in the spring, so the deals for everyone involved with the show are going to expire very shortly. So they don’t have the luxury of letting it play out for the season, then make a decision. Which is unfortunate, because I think this is a show in particular that builds every week.
Have you pitched season two?
It’s really hard to describe season two without giving away the amazing ending of the first season — but let’s just say it explores similar themes but told in a different way. It involves many but not all of the characters from season one — and in fact, some of the seeds for the season two concept are actually planted in episode five that airs Monday. And savvy viewers will continue to pick up more clues in episodes eight and 13. We pitched the potential second season to the network Thursday. In creating the story we wanted to tell, we were really inspired by what we learned about the show from season one — what we did well and what we didn’t, what we want to do more of and what we want to do less of.
So what do you say to viewers who worry about the future of the show and whether they should keep investing their time in it?
The important thing to know is that this entire 13-episode season is going to air. And it’s a very satisfying run. We don’t want anyone to lose faith, because you are going to get a very satisfying season and an amazing conclusion to the season, no matter what. There’s not going to be some kind of disappointment in the end.
The Whispers airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC.
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