Mailbag: Why Hasn’t TNT Renewed ‘Falling Skies’ and ‘Franklin & Bash’ Yet? + Will USA Renew ‘Fairly Legal?’

from the mailbox, questions about shows that begin with the letter “F.”

I saw TNT renewed Dallas and Rizzoli & Isles on Friday. Why haven’t they renewed Falling Skies and Franklin & Bash yet?

Sue W
Atlanta, GA

I don’t generally make predictions about cable shows, but if their current ratings hold I’ll be plenty surprised if Falling Skies and Franklin & Bash are not renewed.  As to why Rizzoli & Isles and Dallas have already been renewed but Falling Skies and Franklin & Bash haven’t been yet, I can only guess. But among things fans usually don’t think about is “who makes the show?” and “who owns the network where the shows aired?” and “does the big corporation who owns the network also happen to own the studios who make those shows?”  My guess is negotiations are just a bit easier when the network and the studio are owned by the same parent company. That’s the case with Rizzoli & Isles and Dallas.  TNT is owned by Time Warner and so is the studio that makes those shows.  So at the corporate level it’s just a bookkeeping transaction.

On the other hand, the studios that produce Falling Skies (Dreamworks) and Franklin & Bash (Sony) aren’t owned by Time Warner.  Since those negotiations aren’t “all in the family” it’s not surprising if they take a little bit longer to work out those deals.

I love, love, love me some Fairly Legal!  Will it be renewed for a third season?

Boise, Id.

Sadly, that’s not something I can predict with any confidence. Its ratings weren’t amazing, but on the other hand it was on Friday. I won’t be very surprised if it gets canceled, but I’d probably be slightly more surprised by cancellation than renewal. It hasn’t been in USA’s DNA to cancel shows without giving fans time to grieve, so based on past history I’d lean towards guessing USA will announce a third and final season, perhaps with fewer episodes.

But USA is going with more and more originals with less places to put them and financially will probably have to get into the mode of cancelling their lower-rated shows just like the broadcast networks to make room for new shows that might rate better.  One thing I’m sure of is that at least to some degree USA’s “fan-friendly” DNA will have to change a little bit.

My guess is the Modern Family repeats that begin airing on USA in 2013-14  will best all USA originals and that the TV media establishment will notice. That’s not a horrible problem for USA to have and it will help USA stay competitive with TBS who airs The Big Bang Theory reruns. But if it goes down like that it may speed up a mutating DNA at USA. If I’m a Fairly Legal fan I’m rooting for USA to decide its fate before the Modern Family reruns begin to air.

If you’re really a tea leaf reader one thing that caught my was that USA has all these shows with great theme songs and/or opening sequences (Covert Affairs, Suits, Psych and Burn Notice among them) and after seeing the opening sequence for the second season of Fairly Legal I did wonder “how did that happen on USA?”

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