EXCLUSIVE: Look who might be coming back from the dead. I’ve learned that ABC is considering bringing back crime drama Body Of Proof. I hear the discussions started at the beginning of the season, with the network expected to make a decision whether to move on with the revival, likely for midseason, within the next month as it gets a more clear picture of how many of its new series would stay on beyond the fall. As Body of Proof’s cast, writers and crew have all moved on following the May cancellation (showrunner Evan Katz is executive producing Fox’s 24: Live Another Day), there is a lot of work to be done to re-assemble a team and bring back star Dana Delany to be able to get the show up and running for midseason.
This month marks the return after extensive retooling of three drama series fronted by bona fide TV stars — Fox’s Touch starring Kiefer Sutherland, NBC’s Smash starring Debra Messing and ABC‘s Body Of Proof toplined by Dana Delany — just as the proposed retooling of another young broadcast series with top-notch cast, NBC comedy Up All Night, is going up in flames. Touch opened its second season with an underwhelming 1.0 rating among adults 18-49 and this past Friday plunged to a 0.7 rating in its second airing, effectively sealing its fate. (For now, Fox is not talking about pulling the show the way CBS did with The Job after its 0.7 showing last Friday but that seems a matter of time.) Smash‘s second season premiere also crashed with a 1.1 demo rating.
Going against the second episode of Smash tonight, ABC’s tweaked Body Of Proof will be making its third-season debut as the crime procedural is looking to avoid the plight of many of its predecessors which didn’t survive a retool. Ironically, the biggest new addition to the cast of Body Of Proof as part of the overhaul, Mark Valley, was the star of another series, Fox’s Human Target, that was unsuccessfully revamped after its freshman season and didn’t last past Season 2. “This has been a unique experience in that… I’ve been actually retooled myself,” he quipped at the Body Of Proof TCA session last month. Other recent series that didn’t last after a revamp include NBC’s Law & Order: LA, retooled midway through a first season that became the series’ last, as well as NBC’s Harry’s Law and USA’s Fairly Legal, both rebooted after Season 1 and cancelled after Season 2. (In another coincidence, Valley was one of the new additions in Harry’s Law‘s revamp.) In most cases, the networks like the overall premise and love the show’s star (Sutherland, Delany, Up All Night‘s Christina Applegate, Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph; Human Target‘s Valley, Harry’s Law‘s Kathy Bates and Fairly Legal‘s Sarah Shahi) and/or the series’ auspices (Harry’s Law‘s David E. Kelley, L&O: LA‘s Dick Wolf) but are looking to shake up soft ratings. Unfortunately, a reboot almost never provides the desired ratings jolt and often has the opposite effect as fickle viewers are rarely willing to give a show a second look, and cast changes sometime alienate core fans. (Body Of Proof axed three regulars in the reboot: John Carroll Lynch, Nicholas Bishop and Sonja Sohn).
Back in May, ABC’s previous boss Steve McPherson went for younger, hipper fare when programming new series Monday through Thursday. The show that seemed to be the closest to the ABC brand, Body of Proof - a female-driven procedural with a quirky central character and headlined by a familiar ABC star, Dana Delany – was sent to Fridays. Now, with many of those Monday-Thursday series crumbling and one, My Generation, already canceled, new ABC chief Paul Lee is taking a second look at Body of Proof and is planning to give it a time slot upgrade.
ABC’s new character-driven procedural Body of Proof stars Dana Delany as an ambitious medical examiner whose first career as a brilliant neurosurgeon was dashed after a car crash. Executive producer Matthew Gross dismissed parallels to the 1970s NBC series Quincy, M.E. “This is not your father’s Quincy; it’s a new take on medic examiners,” he said. “We set out to do a character-driven procedural, started off with Dana’s character, and grew form there.” With that, Delany cracked a joke about her resemblance to Quincy star Jack Klugman.