NBC announced some good news for its quad of new dramas today, ordering three more scripts each for Chuck, Bionic Woman, Journeyman and Life. While this is certainly great news for each of these series, it does not necessarily mean each show will be picked up for the full season. It is, however, typically seen as a precursor to a full-season order. Chuck and Bionic Woman are not big surprises here: both have received solid ratings, especially in the key demos. Journeyman and Life getting re-upped is a bit of a shock, considering the declining ratings both dramas have received. But, if NBC has proved anything over the last few years, it’s that if they are confident in a show’s creative direction, they will practice extreme patience. FOX, NBC is not. In related news, CBS ordered four additional episodes of the Jimmy Smits-led drama Cane. Also, the CW commissioned three more scripts for their semi-controversial comedy Aliens in America.
Say what you will about their ratings woes over the last few years, NBC remains my favorite network on television. I’ve always been an NBC guy and always will be. Out of all the major networks, they’re the only ones who appear to occasionally sacrifice ratings to air shows that they believe in. Whereas FOX cancels shows after one or two episodes if they don’t perform well and CBS keeps pumping out similarly formulaic procedurals, NBC creates interesting shows and give them every possible chance to succeed. The examples are plentiful. Any other network would have canceled The Office after its poorly received, poorly rated six-episode first season. NBC gave Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip a full season. They allowed 30 Rock to grow and find its stride despite low ratings throughout its entire first season (a season that ended up winning the Best Comedy Emmy). Scrubs has never received great ratings, yet it’s still around.
Now, NBC is showing the same confidence (misguided or not) in its four new dramas this season. They clearly believe that Journeyman and Life have more to give and that audiences will eventually find those shows. I believe Journeyman has some potential (though my friend recently pointed out the suspicious similarities between Journeyman and Quantum Leap…by the way, we could all use some more Scott Bakula in our lives). Life, I’m not so sure about. Bionic Woman and Chuck are doing about as expected, which is good not great. NBC is giving them all a chance to find their audience, and for that I salute you, Great Peacock.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of NBC)