Pre-historic drama Terra Nova appears headed to the history books. After two weeks of negotiations, Netflix and Terra Nova producer 20th Century Fox TV could not come to terms on a deal to continue the series on the video streaming service. While 20th TV is not throwing in the towel quite yet as it is not releasing the actors, there is no other viable suitor at this time and the chances of keeping the show alive following Fox’s cancellation earlier this month appear minimal. 20th TV has done it before with Family Guy, Futurama and Arrested Development, which were all resurrected years after being cancelled, but given the elaborate sets required by Terra Nova, which takes place 85 million years in the past, that possibility appears unrealistic. Three of the show’s cast members have already booked new series gigs: star Jason O’Mara co-stars in CBS’ Ralph Lamb drama pilot, Allison Miller in NBC’s Matthew Perry-starring comedy Go On, and previously released Christine Adams in the ABC drama pilot Americana. Along with Terra Nova, Netflix had been looking at another soon-to-be-canceled freshman drama, ABC’s The River.
EXCLUSIVE: Netflix, already in talks with 20th Century Fox TV about possibly picking up recently canceled Fox series Terra Nova, may also be eying another freshman drama facing cancellation: ABC’s The River. I’ve learned that the streaming giant has had conversations with The River producer ABC Studios about the possibility of continuing the thriller/horror series on Netflix. Sources stress that the talks are exploratory at this point in the context of a larger conversation between ABC Studios and Netflix. The River never got traction on ABC, finishing its midseason run with a 1.4 18-49 rating for its finale Tuesday. But it is the type of show — a heavily serialized genre series — that works well on streaming services like Netflix. The River‘s Live+7 ratings bump, 36% vs. Live+Same Day according to the most recent available data, is solid though not as high as that of Terra Nova (44%), which also was higher-rated overall. DVR ratings are indicative of how many viewers prefer to “stream” a show on their own timetable instead of watching it the night it airs. Unlike Terra Nova, The River has not been officially canceled by ABC, though that is considered a foregone conclusion. Also, since the series is produced by ABC’s own production arm, the network probably won’t stand in the way of a deal that would make money for its sister studio.
EXCLUSIVE: While Terra Nova star Jason O’Mara took to Twitter moments after Fox cancelled Terra Nova and has been rallying fan support ever since, his co-lead on the show Stephen Lang had not commented on the issue until now. Here is Lang’s reaction to the cancellation in his own words. Meanwhile Terra Nova producer 20th Century Fox TV, which had been on the verge of hiring a new showrunner for Season 2 when Fox pulled the plug, is in talks with Netflix about possibly picking up the pre-historic drama.
“Terra Nova is analogous to the Hubble Space Telescope. Within weeks of a much publicized and ballyhooed launch in 1990, the Hubble was found to have a serious flaw. Yet even with an improperly ground mirror the Hubble delivered extraordinary images. When the flaw was corrected the Hubble delivered images of transcendent beauty and value for many years. So too Terra Nova. Even in it’s flawed first season each episode was full of marvelous moments and beautiful images. With correction, and given the chance, Terra Nova can and will deliver seasons of transcendent images and story-telling. Failing to renew Terra Nova is shortsighted, as myopic as it would have been to scrap the Hubble. Terra Nova is the Hubble Telescope of television.” – Stephen Lang
EXCLUSIVE: Netflix is already bringing back one cancelled 20th Century Fox TV series, the Emmy-winning Arrested Development. Now the video streaming giant is taking a look at another, drama Terra Nova. I hear that 20th TV and Netflix have been in talks about keeping the pre-historic drama alive. My sources stress that the conversations are preliminary and it is unclear if they will materialize into a negotiation, but for fans of the series left heartbroken by Fox’s decision on Monday not to pick it up for a second season, this is still encouraging news. Immediately after Fox made its cancellation decision, 20th TV made it clear that it would try hard to find a new home for the series and shop it to other networks.
It would make a sense for Terra Nova, a Top 10 DVR gainer, to get a second life on a streaming service like Netflix. During its freshman run, the series‘ 18-49 rating grew on average 44% in Live+7 vs. Live+Same say. In Live+7, the drama starring Jason O’Mara logged a respectable 3.6/9 among adults 18-49. 20th TV, which declined comment, too has an incentive to keep Terra Nova alive as the series, featuring CGI dinosaurs and branded with executive producer Steven Spielberg’s name, is a big international seller. But making a second season of a big-budget series like Terra Nova work financially without a lucrative broadcast network license fee would be …
UPDATED: There will be no second season of pre-historic drama Terra Nova on Fox. The network’s brass just made the decision after weeks of exploring potential Season 2 tweaks to the series set 85 million years in the past. Fox had to make the decision early so the show could make a fall return if renewed. Despite its pedigree — produced by Steven Spielberg and Peter Chernin – Terra Nova did not become a runaway hit, but its decent ratings, coupled with strong international sales for sibling 20th Century Fox TV, which produces the series, were keeping renewal hopes alive. 20th TV now plans to shop Terra Nova, starring Jason O’Mara and Stephen Lang, to other networks. At TCA in January, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly was non-committal when asked about the future of the series. “If this is all we make (of Terra Nova), we made money on it, the studio made money on it, and it seems to have resonated with the family audience,” he said. “There is a show, which if we are to bring back, there’s an audience there. But creatively, the show was hunting (for its identity). If we had more holes in our network, we’d be thrilled to lock that right in.”
It is interesting that from what I hear, it was Reilly who made the call to cancel Terra Nova, while it was his boss, Peter Rice, who championed and bought the project exactly two years ago. With House ending its run and Terra Nova gone, Fox has three more dramas on the bubble: two with slim chances of renewal — midseason entries Alcatraz and The Finder — and Fringe, which could clinch a 13-episode pickup if the budget can be pared down significantly. The new Kiefer Sutherland series Touch premieres later this month.
With so many Fox series in limbo for next season, the network’s entertainment president Kevin Reilly spent the entire TCA executive session fielding questions about the future of veteran medical drama House, low-rated sci-fi drama Fringe, freshman Terra Nova and musical dramedy Glee, leaving virtually no time for him to brag about the Fox ratings gains this past fall. (He still found a way to mention the network’s 14% year-to-year ratings increase in one of his answers.)
In a nutshell, no decision has been made on House, Terra Nova or Fringe. Things don’t look good for Fringe, though it, along with House, will get satisfying finales if this proves to be the end of the road for them. Glee meanwhile looks very good to return though the plan for a spinoff has been scrapped. And, oh yeah, low-rated freshman animated comedy Allen Gregory has been officially canceled. Here are the details from Reilly, who also addressed the future of American Idol host Ryan Seacrest:
On Glee: “There will be no spinoff. The characters (who are seniors) will be graduating. (Co-creator) Ryan Murphy and the guys have come up with a really cool idea… that I think is going to really give us something cool to dig into next season. … It would be a cool season next year.” Despite the enthusiastic thumbs-up, Reilly declined …
When Fox’s executives face reporters during the network’s portion of the winter TV Critics Association press tour on Sunday, the futures of two series — freshman Terra Nova and veteran House — are expected to be a popular topic (along with the survival chances of low-rated cult favorite Fringe of course). The producers of Terra Nova and House were hoping to find out whether their shows are being renewed by end of December. (House creator David Shore has been vocal about needing time to end the series properly if this indeed is its final season.) That didn’t happen, but Fox brass are pressed to make a decision quickly, especially in the case of Terra Nova, which has to go into production by April in order to be ready for fall. And what a difficult decision it is going to be as the network will have to make it in a vacuum. Three of Fox’s four new drama series this season, or 75%, have yet to premiere. And the network’s drama pilot scripts are only now starting to come in. So the network, which doesn’t have many drama slots open, may have to make a decision on two hourlong series before the debut of the majority of its freshman dramas and before it has seen its drama development for next season. Things may get a little bit clearer in the next three weeks, when midseason dramas Alcatraz and The Finder will premiere and Touch will get a preview ahead of its March debut. Still, committing to new seasons of two modestly rated existing series so early with so many unknowns is risky.
‘Terra Nova’ Moves To Pick Up Stars Jason O’Mara & Stephen Lang, Add High-Level Writers While Awaiting Renewal Decision
Fox has not made a decision on a Terra Nova renewal, but the series’ producers are moving to secure key actors and beef up writer ranks to be ready for production on Season 2. The options on the cast of the prehistoric drama are up on December 31, and I’ve learned that pickups for stars Jason O’Mara and Stephen Lang are imminent. With the cast options’ expiration date looming, the network originally was expected to make a decision on the series last week, following a top-level meeting between the heads of 20th Century Fox, which produces Terra Nova, and Fox on December 16. That didn’t happen, but the pickup of sought-after actors O’Mara and Lang gives Fox a little bit of breathing room, and the network is now expected to make its decision in January. That would make for a very tight production schedule on Terra Nova, which has to begin filming in April to make a September premiere date because of the series’ extensive post-production, including visual effects.
RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Terra Nova’ Inches Up In Finale, ‘Fear Factor’ Drops, ‘Rock Center’ Hits High Against Big ‘MNF’ Game
The two-hour season finale of Fox’s Terra Nova (2.2/6 in adults 18-49, 7.2 million viewers) was up a tenth (5%) among adults 18-49 from last week’s series low and up 4% in total viewers. The performance didn’t boost the prehistoric drama’s renewal chances — but it didn’t hurt them either. With Terra Nova, Fox (2.2/6, 7.2 million) finished No. 1 for the night in adults 18-49. In the fast nationals, Fox is tied with CBS (2.2/6, 7.4 million) among 18-49, but CBS’ numbers may have been inflated by a local NFL pre-emption in San Francisco. CBS aired all reruns, with 2 Broke Girls (2.7/7, 7.7 million) ranking as the top program of the night in 18-49, a great accomplishment for the rookie comedy. Two And A Half Men (2.5/6, 8.5 million) was tops in total viewers.
The highest-rated original (in 18-49) last night was NBC’s Fear Factor (2.4/6, 6.3 million) at 9 PM, which tumbled from its solid two-hour premiere last week. Compared with the 9 PM episode last week, the reality series was down 31%; versus the 8 PM one, it was down 23%. NBC launched a new game show at 8 PM, Who’s Still Standing? (1.5/4), which was down 52% from what the 8 PM premiere of Fear Factor did last week. Rock Center With Brian Williams (1.2/3) continues to grow with Fear Factor as lead-in, up 9% from last week to a series high.
ABC aired specials and repeats …
UPDATE, 2:35 PM: The comment about James came from News Corp president Chase Carey, filling in for Rupert Murdoch, who wasn’t on the quarterly conference call with analysts and reporters. Despite growing concerns about James’ role in the News Of The World hacking scandal, the deputy COO “has done a good job and we are not contemplating any changes,” Carey said. He added, in response to a question, that the company is taking “seriously” the strong opposition that several shareholders expressed at the recent annual meeting to many members of the News Corp board — which includes three members of the Murdoch family. “The board will, and is, discussing those votes,” he says. “The board continues to evolve. …. That being said, we’re proud of the board.”
In other matters, Carey says that “we’re not buying the (Los Angeles) Dodgers,” but didn’t elaborate. Sports costs are not a big concern for the company for now because “outside of Los Angeles, most of our contracts are long term,” he says. He’s also unfazed by the NBA strike, saying that “it’s not a significant financial event for us” although “we’d like to see them settle it.” Carey denied that Fox is offering make-goods ads for lower-than-expected initial ratings for The X Factor: ”We have the No. 1 show and make real money from it,” he says. “It came out a bit below where we targeted … but is building momentum.” Not much detail about the collapse of the auction for Hulu. Carey says that it ”has been a positive for us in terms of creating value” despite its “complicated ownership structure.” Carey also didn’t provide much insight into the new programming deal with DirecTV, although he says it’s “fair for both of us.”