Nashville: Music City D.O.A.
Nashville: Music City D.O.A.
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
I don't mean to brag, but I told you so. When the fall season was announced, I instantly foresaw that FOX's docu-soap Nashville would be the first casualty of the new fall lineup, and it turns out I was right. After airing just two very low-rated episodes, FOX has pulled Nashville from its deadly Friday night time slot, though the network claims the move is temporary.

The official word is that Nashville “will be rescheduled at a later date.” However, that is probably code for “To save some embarrassment for being the first network to cancel a new show, we will claim it's on hiatus until we officially dump it later on.” In its place, FOX will air repeats of another new show, K-Ville.

Nashville never really had a chance. First, the target demographic of young adults is often out partying on Friday nights, not staying at home watching vapid, pretty people go out and party. Also, check FOX's track record. Its summer reality series Anchorwoman was canceled the day after it aired due to low ratings. When the ratings for Nashville's premiere came in and were comparable, the writing was on the wall.

For the next two weeks, FOX will run K-Ville repeats in the 9pm time slot, then scheduling will be pre-empted for Major League Baseball playoffs on October 12, followed by the two-hour premiere of American Band on October 19. That is followed by two more two-hour American Band installments, which brings FOX to November 9, which is possibly when the network will actually bother to air a couple more Nashville episodes after American Band, though just as likely, they'll keep repeats of K-Ville, Bones or House.

The bigger question is: what will FOX do when they have to cancel the other new shows? K-Ville started strong, pulling in 8.96 million for its premiere. Of course, when its second episode went up against the premieres of Dancing with the Stars, Two and a Half Men and Heroes, that rating dropped to 6.16 million. That's less than half what all three of those other shows did in the same time slot. Back to You went from 9.44 million in its premiere to 7.54 million in week two. Though technically not a new show, Til Death went from 7.76 million to 6.2 million.

Most shows can handle a slight dip in the ratings following the initial curiosity of the viewers, but when a show loses 20 or 30 percent of its audience from the first week to the second, trouble is brewing. Those numbers aren't likely to move upwards any time soon.

The saddest part for Nashville is that it was canceled before the new season even got underway. The hammer came down late Tuesday afternoon, at which time only 9 of the 26 new fall shows had premiered. For FOX, the spring, which offers 24 and American Idol, can't come soon enough.

-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of FOX)