You can’t have high expectations when you schedule a series finale on Friday night between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. In that context, the series closer of the CW drama Nikita did as well as could have been expected. The finale managed a 0.2 in adults 18-49, even with the last two airings that followed an original lead-in and tied for a series low. The only other original offerings on the 5 English language broadcast networks were ABC News‘ 20/20, which pulled a 1.1, down 8% from last week, and the NBC News special What We Wasted Our Year On, which too looked like a wasted opportunity with a meager 1.0 rating. With a repeat of ABC’s Shark Tank (1.2) as the highest-rated program last night, it’s no surprise that the English-language networks were edged by Spanish language broadcaster Univision, which averaged a 1.1 18-49 rating in primetime, with ABC and CBS (1.0) tied for second place.
Sadness and excitement marked the final Comic-Con panel for The CW‘s spy show Nikita, which is set to come to an end with a six-episode midseason wrap-up. “It’s bittersweet,” said showrunner Craig Silverstein, who was joined at Comic-Con by cast members Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca, Melinda Clarke, Aaron Stanford and Noah Bean. “I’m just glad we’re able to end it and bring it to a full close. Knowing that it’s going to finish lets us finish it with a period — hopefully an exclamation mark.”
The network’s decision to end the spy drama after three seasons came as a mixed blessing. Unlike many cancelled series, the cult hit will at least get to end with some closure. “My heart hurt because I have a very deep love for [the cast] and I’m going to miss them,” said Maggie Q. “We get to end this show with such integrity and with our heads high.” Filming on the fourth season is underway. The abbreviated run will accelerate the pace of Nikita‘s storytelling, said Silverstein. “What it means is you get right to the good stuff. [Most seasons] end with things happening one after the other, [but] that’s how we’re going to start this season.”
As expected, the CW announced today that the six-episode renewal for Nikita will mark the spy drama’s final installment. The pickup came after Nikita creator Craig Silverstein, who has a hot new pilot, Turn, at AMC, closed a deal for one last short order. Nikita‘s final chapter, which is yet to be scheduled, will bring the series full circle, with Nikita (Maggie Q) once again on the run as a hunted rogue for a murder she didn’t commit as she attempts to clear her name as well as spare the people she loves. The pickup is part of CW president Mark Pedowitz’s efforts to give the network’s long-running series a satisfying ending for fans. Nikita, a very modest performer on Friday night, has had solid digital play and ranks as one of the CW’s top series on social media. It also has been a strong international seller for producing studio Warner Bros TV.
Related: CW 2013-14 Schedule
And just like we predicted a month ago, the CW has renewed all of its existing series. The last to get the nod today are The Carrie Diaries and Nikita. The network is not confirming the sizes of the pickups, but Carrie’s is automatically a 13-episode order as it is a midseason show, and I hear Nikita will return for a six-episode cycle. I had heard that could be the final chapter for Nikita, though if the limited event series format works, the CW may leave the door open to additional installments. The network had been looking to break into the limited series format for the last couple of seasons. Carrie Diaries and Nikita join previously renewed Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Hart Of Dixie and Beauty And The Beast.
The CW‘s midseason drama The Carrie Diaries wraps its 13-episode freshman season tonight. With its pedigree as an offshoot from one of most recognizable media franchises of the last 20 years, Sex And The City, it was expected to be a slam-dunk. Instead, Carrie Diaries started slow and is finishing its run on the bubble. But while its TV ratings alone would’ve likely pushed the series toward cancellation, Carrie Diaries‘ very strong online play including on Hulu is making the renewal a possibility. What’s more, besides the three shows the CW already cancelled this season — veteran 90210 and freshmen Emily Owens MD and Cult — there is a chance that the CW returns all of its other series including Hart Of Dixie, Nikita, Beauty And The Beast and Carrie Diaries in some shape or form, including limited runs. (The CW’s strongest series, Arrow, The Vampire Diaries and veteran Supernatural, were already renewed in February.)
More than other networks’ series, the online performance of CW shows, most of which are serialized, plays an important part in the net’s renewal decisions. After all, episode streaming provides a key revenue stream for the CW. In addition to commercial-loaded play on the the network’s website, the CW’s current series are available on Hulu under a five-year, $75-million deal, while previous seasons of CW shows are on Netflix as part of the eye-popping four-year, $1 billion pact the two companies inked in late 2011. The Netflix deal in particular represents an incentive for the CW to keep shows on the air longer because that raises interest in previous seasons as evident by such current serialized cable series as Breaking Bad, whose older seasons became blockbuster hits on Netflix.
The CW‘s Nikita has been struggling in its new Friday 9 PM slot, dropping to a dismal 0.2/1 in 18-49 and 793,000 viewers two weeks ago. The network is looking to shake things up by shifting the action drama back to its old Friday 8 PM berth. According to advance TV listings, Nikita‘s first airing in the new (old) 8 PM slot will be on November 30. It will be followed by a repeat of freshman breakout Arrow. Nikita currently airs behind America’s Next Top Model, whose season finale airs November 16. (The CW has holiday specials slated for Friday, November 23.)
Devon Sawa has been elevated to a series regular on The CW’s Nikita. Sawa (Final Destination, Slackers and Idle Hands) had been recurring as Owen Elliot, a former Division “cleaner” on the show which is headed into its third season. In a similar fashion to Nikita (Maggie Q), Owen became attached and eventually fell in love with a civilian, Emily (Bianca Lawson) who was killed. Owen also killed Nikita’s fiancé, Daniel Monroe (Sebastien Roberts). Sawa’s casting follows recent feature roles in The Philly Kid with Wes Chatham and Neal McDonough and 388 Arletta Avenue opposite Nick Stahl. Sawa is repped by Gersh and KLWGN Entertainment.
As it picked up five new drama series, the CW also has renewed its strongest bubble series, Gossip Girl, Nikita and Hart of Dixie. It will be the final season for Gossip, third for Nikita and second for Dixie. The pickups of Dixie and Nikita are for 22 episodes, Gossip‘s is for an 11-episode final season.
Meanwhile, as expected, low-rated freshmen Ringer and The Secret Circle are not coming back. Here what the three renewed series had going for them. Gossip Girl is a big DVR gainer and has been a signature show for the CW that could go well together with Carrie Diaries, Hart Of Dixie has been very strong in online viewing, and Nikita is a big international seller for the CW’s sister studio Warner Bros TV.
CBS’ Friday lineup posted gains in its return to originals after a month of reruns. A Gifted Man (1.5/5) was up 15% from its most recent original on December 2, CSI:NY (1.8/5) was up 29% and Blue Bloods (1.8/5) was up 13%. Similarly, the CW’s Nikita (0.6/2) climbed 20% from its most recent first-run episode, and Supernatural (0.8/2) was up 14%. The tide lifted all the ships, with NBC’s Chuck (1.0/3) up 25% from last week as the series approaches its series finale later this month. Also heading into its series finale is ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, whose back-to-back episodes last night (1.4/4, 1.6/5) were up 17% and 23%, respectively, from December 16. Fox is expected to top Friday night in 18-49 with the Cotton Bowl, while CBS is on track for a No. 1 finish in total viewers.
On the heels of getting a three-episode back order this week, CBS’ freshman drama A Gifted Man (1.3/4 in adults 18-49, 8.2 million viewers) posted a ratings uptick of a tenth of a point in 18-49. Since premiering with a 1.4, the medical/supernatural drama had been stuck at a 1.2, only once logging a 1.3 in the fast nationals that was adjusted down to a 1.2 in the finals. It looks like the 1.3 demo rating may stick this time, which would mark the show’s second highest 18-49 result to date. CSI:NY (1.6/5, 9.9 million) was down a tenth in the demo from last week, while Blue Bloods (2.0/6, 12.2 million) continued its wild ratings swings from the past couple of weeks. It was up 18% from last week’s 18-49 result. That follows a 24% jump in the demo 2 weeks ago and 19% decline last week. Blue Bloods once again was the top program of the night in both 18-49 and total viewers and led CBS (1.6/5, 10.1 million) to a nightly win in both categories.
Encouraging news for new NBC drama Grimm, which is awaiting word on a back episodic order after receiving a pickup for 3 additional scripts this week. After 2 weeks of declines, the fairytale procedural posted a 1.6/5 in 18-49 last night. That was up a tenth from the series’ fast national last week when …