After The Firm dropped to a new series low of a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49 last night — that’s got to be a historic low for NBC– the network is pulling the drama series from the Thursday 10 PM slot effective immediately. The acquired legal drama, a sequel to the John Grisham novel and 1993 movie, will continue its 22-episode run in the Saturday 9 PM slot starting next week. Its place will be taken by NBC’s midseason drama Awake, starring Jason Isaacs. The complex, reality-defying series about a detective who finds himself leading a double life will premiere March 1. In the interim, NBC will air Grimm reruns in the Thursday 10 PM hour. Awake hails from creator/executive producer Kyle Killen and executive producer/showrunner Howard Gordon. 20th Century Fox TV is producing. It will be the third freshman drama NBC is launching in the Thursday 10 PM period this season following Prime Suspect and The Firm.
RATINGS RAT RACE: Strong Premiere For ‘Rob’, Slow Start For ‘Finder’ & ’30 Rock’, ‘The Firm’ Takes Plunge In Regular Slot Debut
Bad reviews be damned. Rob Schneider’s new CBS comedy series Rob overperformed in its series premiere last night, drawing a 4.1/11 among adults 18-49 and 13.5 million viewers. The multi-cultural sitcom delivered CBS’ best numbers in the Thursday 8:30 PM slot in almost two years, since the Thursday finale of Survivor: Heroes And Villains on May 13, 2010, and ranked as the third-highest-rated new series premiere this season among 18-49 behind CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and Fox’s New Girl. On the cautionary side, Rob did only slightly better than the debut of the now-defunct $#*! My Dad Says in the time period in fall 2010 (4.0 in 18-49). Rob was helped by a strong lead-in from The Big Bang Theory (5.2/15), which was up 13% from its last original five weeks ago. (Rob was also probably aided by its strong Hispanic themes – George Lopez’ appeal to Latinos helped the ABC sitcom get to syndication). Rob lifted CBS’ rookie drama Person Of Interest (3.2/8, 14.3 million) at 9 PM to series highs in adults 18-49 and total viewers. The Mentalist (2.7/7) was flat. CBS easily won the night in 18-49 and total viewers.
How fortunate that NBC’s TCA presentation was last week and not this week, as the network chief’s opening …
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
After a dismal fall, NBC is pinning its hopes for a ratings turnaround on a slew of midseason series. One of them is legal drama The Firm, based on the John Grisham bestseller, which the network acquired in the spring. The series, premiering Sunday, continues the story of attorney Mitchell McDeere a decade later.
Writer-executive producer Lukas Reiter said that author Grisham was on board from the very beginning, liking the idea of doing a new chapter in the McDeere story. “He really didn’t (have reservations),” said Reiter, a former co-executive producer of NBC’s Law & Order. “I have been writing legal drama for most of my career, and The Firm has always been at the top of my list. Why didn’t John Grisham continue the story? I had a thought about how we might do that.” He added that writers and lawyers have one thing in common: “The ability to think about the same thing for an irrational amount of time.”
Broadcast networks’ infatuation with lower-license-fee internationally produced drama series, which began during the run-up to the 2007 writers strike, is entering a major new phase with NBC’s midseason scheduling of the Entertainment One-produced 22-episode drama The Firm, based on John Grisham’s novel and the Tom Cruise-starring movie. Back in 2007, two of the acquired series stockpiled by the U.S. networks as strike contingency, Flashpoint by CBS and Crusoe by NBC, aired in-season on Fridays and Saturdays, and Flashpoint even got a brief turn in the Thursday 10 PM slot when the broadcast nets ran out of originals at the height of the labor dispute. But since then, NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox have largely limited lower-license-fee drama series acquisitions to summer runs. (Fox’s attempt to extend the run of such a series, The Good Guys, into the regular season backfired.) Then in April, NBC picked up The Firm based on a spec script by Lucas Reiter. Two weeks later, at NBC’s upfront presentation, the network announced The Firm as a midseason replacement to air on Sundays. And today, the straight-to-series drama was upgraded to the Thursday 10 PM slot, which for years had been considered NBC’s top drama slot, home of such iconic series as Hill Street Blues, LA Law and ER.
NBC’s Midseason Schedule: ‘Up All Night’, ‘Whitney’, ‘Rock Center’, ‘Harry’s Law’ Move; ‘Community’ Benched; ‘Suspect’ Pulled
After a pretty dismal fall, NBC is shaking things up in midseason with several scheduling changes. Gone from the lineup is struggling freshman Prime Suspect (NBC says it hasn’t made a final decision on its cancellation), while four series — Whitney, Up All Night, Harry’s Law and Rock Center With Brian Williams — are on the move. NBC is creating a multi-camera comedy block in the 8-9 PM Wednesday hour with Whitney and midseason comedy Are You There, Chelsea (formerly Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea; No alcohol-flavored title in the family hour.) The block, which will debut January 11, brings together two female comedians with similar sensibility in Whitney Cummings and Chelsea Handler, on whose books Chelsea is based. A month later, the two comedies will be followed by low-rated newsmagazine Rock Center With Brian Williams. It will take over the Wednesday 9 PM slot from Harry’s Law, which is moving to Sundays. Rock Center had to move out of the Monday 10 PM slot to make room for NBC’s highest-profile new series this season, Broadway drama Smash, which will premiere on February 6 and run in the post-The Voice slot as originally scheduled. NBC’s other changes for midseason include new comedy Up All Night moving to Whitney‘s Thursday 9:30 PM slot; 30 Rock replacing Community on Thursdays at 8 PM; and the John Grisham adaptation The Firm, originally slated for a Sunday midseason run, sliding into Prime Suspect‘s Thursday 10 PM slot. The order for Community has not been reduced, so it’s unclear what NBC will do with the remaining episodes of the college-set comedy. Missing from the midseason lineup is NBC’s ambitious new drama series Awake, which recently took an unplanned break to work on scripts. Here is NBC’s midseason schedule (with premiere dates) that also includes new reality series Fashion Star on Tuesdays at 10 PM and the return of Celebrity Apprentice on Sundays:
Josh Lucas has closed his deal to star in NBC’s drama The Firm, slated to air on Sundays in midseason. The series, based on the hit Paramount feature starring Tom Cruise, marks his first major TV series gig. The Firm is produced by eOne in association with Sony Pictures TV Networks and Paramount Pictures. Here is NBC’s release: