Time may be running out for NBC’s Journeyman. According to inside sources, the Peacock network is considering pulling the show in two weeks unless ratings improve. The news comes shortly after NBC announced that fellow new drama Life would be given a test-run in Journeyman‘s Monday at 10pm time slot on December 3, following the Heroes fall (and likely season) finale.
The news could not come at a worse time for fans of quality serialized television already reeling from the writers’ strike and its impact on shows like 24 and Lost. Slowly but surely, Journeyman has developed into one of the most intriguing shows on TV. The plight of San Francisco journalist Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd) and his sudden time traveling jumps is becoming even more dramatic as the FBI is digging into his life, getting closer to the truth.
While Journeyman never soared in the ratings, it didn’t help that lead-in Heroes, thought to be NBC’s new benchmark series, became a ratings disappointment in season 2. Still, Journeyman received a nice bump last Monday with 6.2 million viewers, up nearly a million from the previous week.
According to one source close to the show, the ratings don’t indicate the true depth of viewer loyalty. Each week, thanks to DVRs and online downloads, approximately one million additional viewers tune in. That speaks to the fact that many Journeyman fans are young science fiction lovers who are more technologically advanced than the studio heads who only look at Nielsen numbers.
It’s a sad fact that, even as they face a writers’ strike over online original content, many networks still don’t seem to understand the importance of DVRs and downloads. People are no longer watching TV in the same way their parents did, and the networks need to adapt. Journeyman, with its combination of season-long mythology and individual standalone plots, is the kind of mysterious show that could do very well on DVD, another thing NBC doesn’t seem to be looking towards by considering pulling the show.
The inside source said that Journeyman will air for the next two weeks, and if the ratings don’t steadily improve with those, it will be pulled, possibly never to return. Tonight, Journeyman begins a two-episode arc in which Dan travels back in time to track a kidnapper played by Raphael Sbarge. 24 fans will remember him as Ray Wallace, the distraught father at the start of season 6 who would do anything to save his family, include bring a detonator to the terrorists.
If you’re wondering what more you can do to save Journeyman, the answer for now is watch, and get all your friends to watch as well. If that fails, NBC can expect Journeyman fans to mount a Jericho-like campaign. Only instead of nuts, might I suggest sending them quartz crystals. They’re a bit pricier, but I’ve heard they keep time better than any other material.
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of NBC)