The fall season is still early, but the networks are already making decisions about the fates of the new shows. Following in the footsteps of the CW's 90210
, FOX's Fringe
and CBS' The Mentalist
, NBC picked up Knight Rider
for a full season today. In other news, Showtime picked up its Emmy-nominated drama Dexter
for two additional seasons.
For NBC, the full season order for Knight Rider
might vex some critics. The show became a punching bag for TV critics this season, earning some of the worst reviews of any fall show. In spite of them, viewers have consistently tuned in, and while the ratings aren't huge, NBC sees the potential in a fun action series.
The new fall shows have a rather decent track record thus far. Opposite the four full seasons, only two shows have been canceled or taken off the schedule: FOX's Do Not Disturb
and ABC's reality series Opportunity Knocks.
On the cable side, the news is even better. Dexter
, currently in its third season and coming off an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Drama Series, was renewed for two additional seasons after the current one ends. This might be strange for a major network, but on cable, early and big renewals have become common.
After the first season of FX's Damages
finished, the network picked it up for two additional seasons, and before FX's comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
even began it's third season last month, it was renewed for seasons 4 and 5.
Other cable networks have also given big shows recent renewals, including HBO's True Blood
and AMC's Mad Men
. The strategy of renewing or picking up shows so early is certainly good for viewers. In a time when networks aren't afraid to cancel quickly, it's difficult for viewers to become invested in a show when they know it might not be around for long.
This especially benefits a show like Fringe
, the J.J. Abrams sci-fi mystery, where viewers might be wary of devoting time if they know the show will raise questions it won't get a chance to answer. On cable, the idea is to win over new viewers. The average TV fan might not order Showtime just to check out Dexter
after hearing how good it is from friends, but if they know there will be two more seasons, it suggests there's still plenty of time to become a fan.
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of NBC)