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

Categories: 2-Featured,Cable TV

Written By

June 30th, 2012

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?”

  • The End

    Interesting, so there is hope for Falling Skies after all.

  • DonJ1973

    The funny thing about Falling Skies is it’s indeed produced by Dreamworks, but the DVD/Blu-Ray for season 1 was released by Warner Brothers. I have to assume it’s a co-production and maybe production costs are a factor. I recall they started shooting season 2 last Fall, so with post production factored in, it probably costs more to make the show than Rizzoli or Dallas.

  • The Original J

    There never wasn’t hope. The show pulls down great ratings for cable.

  • Robert Seidman

    @Don, following development closely isn’t my thing, so I could *certainly* be wrong but I’m pretty sure it’s not a co-production with Warner Bros. My guess is that was just a distribution deal.

  • Maurice 33

    Falling Skies is in a difficult position with TNT because the network doesn’t own the show like it does with Dallas and R&I so Falling Skies pretty much has to do well domestically plus its rather expensive to produce. TNT can’t make any real money off of it overseas.

    Falling Skies is still doing really well in the ratings so I think it’ll be safe for a third season.

    F&B though you might kiss that one goodbye, I was surprised it even made it to season 2.

    Fairly Legal not sure but the ratings were solid so it will comeback more than likely.

  • Jenna

    Not sure how to feel about your Fairly Legal comments. :-/ Doesn’t make me feel better or worse…lol. Really hope USA renews it. Love that show!

    Agree about the opening sequence though…it’s bad for any network. Not sure what the thinking was there. Wouldn’t have taken much to make it better.

    Anyway, I hope there is good news for us Fairly Legal fans SOON!

  • Walt

    Falling Skies is TNT’s highest rated show in the 18-49 demo. It is certain to be renewed if it stabilizes on Sunday. The question is how many episodes it’ll get for season 3.

  • Jenna

    Hope you’re right on Fairly Legal Maurice! It’s ratings weren’t spectacular, but they were solid, especially considering it moved to Fridays. I would be a little sad to see Franklin and Bash go though, I do enjoy that show…although not as much as FL.

  • rehabber

    Fairly Legal is my favorite show out of these listed, would hate for it to be cancelled after that nice finale. Want to see more of my favorite characters, Leo and Ben.

    I tried F&B last season and it was just to silly for me.

  • DonJ1973

    @ Robert. You’re right. According to IMDB, Dreamworks is the only production company as Producer. So, WB is just distributing it on Home Video. But yeah definitely costs/licensing fee are a factor with Falling Skies taking a little longer to get renewed.

  • DonJ1973

    I saw that Deadline is speculating that Fairly Legal and Common Law are 50/50 are at coming back. Both of them look like inexpensive procedurals. And FL shoots in Vancouver, so it costs a little less than Common Law I would assume. I think Fairly Legal has a slight edge being a Universal Cable production. Common Law is produced by CBS.

  • John A

    Franklin and Bash numbers aint that strong and neither is Fairly Legal. Falling Skies will definitly renewed.

  • F.R.

    Still no official word on AMC’s ‘The Killing’ either.

  • The End


    To be fair, The Killings ratings kinda suck. The finale recieving just 1.45 million, 0.5 18-49. Guessing the show is dead in the water as the ratings dropped even lower than this prior.

  • F.R.

    @The End,

    Agreed, though I hear a possible third season could cost a lot less than the first two. Since the story from the first two seasons wrapped up, a third season would focus on an entirely new story, keeping only 2 (or 3) series regulars from the first two seasons. New regulars won’t cost as much as keeping veteran regulars which would get a raise for the third year. Still more likely to get cancelled though.

  • Dennis

    Ya Falling Skies, even at it’s lowest rated episode is still higher rated then Dallas and Rizzoli & Isles….

    Dallas hit a 1.1 in the demo on Wednesday, and Falling Skies hit a series low of 1.3 on Sunday.

    There’s no doubt in my mind FS will be renewed… but I doubt it will be renewed until around episode 8

  • F.R.


    The Killing Season 1 average: 2.12 million viewers, 0.6 adults 18-49 rating

    The Killing Season 2 average: 1.56 million viewers, 0.5 adults 18-49 rating

    (Average difference: 0.56 million viewers, 0.1 adults 18-49 rating)

  • Dennis


    Wow, only a 0.1 demo difference???

    Do amc care more about demo or viewers?
    If it was demo only surely it would have been renewed then

  • The End


    That’s the thing, with Walking Dead doing superbly and Mad Men doing okay, AMC can afford to be picky with their shows now. If everything rated mediocrely like on The CW the Killing would have a better chance of renewal.

    If it gets a 3rd season anyway it has a high chance of getting a 4th and final season.

    Syndication in all.

  • The End


    The show hit lows of 1.31 million twice, 1.34 and 1.35 million also in a short space of time during its second season.

    Even at its lowest the first season was getting around 1.81 million.

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