NBC today pulled the plug on legal drama Outlaw after putting the freshman series on production hiatus last week. It hails from Conan O’Brien’s once NBC-based production company Conaco. Conan and company were shocked when, in the middle of his fight with NBC Universal brass over The Tonight Show hosting gig last January, the network picked up their pilot. NBC gave Outlaw a solid sampling after America’s Got Talent but the series never took hold in its permanent Friday 10 PM time period where it was crushed by CBS’ Blue Bloods. Starting this Friday, NBC will air a second hour of newsmagazine Dateline in the time slot. (NBC had been airing a 2-hour Dateline from 8-10 PM, leading into Outlaw.) This Friday, the network will premiere new reality series School Pride at 8 PM, which will now be followed by a 2-hour Dateline.
The remaining 4 original episodes of Outlaw will air Saturdays at 8 PM over the next five week (preempted on October 30th for a previously scheduled Shrek special). The Jimmy Smits-starring Outlaw in its do-or-die airing this past Friday was only able to match its underwhelming 1.0 rating in adults 18-49 from the week before and drew 4.2 million viewers, down 11%. On the other hand, Outlaw‘s lead-in, the two-hour Dateline (1.6/6) spiked 23% from the previous week, which probably helped NBC brass’ decision to stick with a 2-hour edition of the primetime newsmagazine on the night. Earlier today, Outlaw gained some ratings ground when the Live+7 numbers for premiere week were released. It was the third biggest gainer among freshman series, up 27.3% to a still-miniscule 1.4 demo rating. (No. 1 on that list was fellow cancelled new drama Lone Star on Fox.) This marks the first cancellation for NBC this fall and the third overall by the broadcast networks, following the dismissals of Lone Star and ABC’s My Generation. NBC has another shot at a launching a legal franchise this season with David E. Kelley’s midseason series Harry’s Law.