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?”

  • roger

    you said that they are getting new shows for the network? well they can put those shows on at 8-9 five days a week since they are showing reruns of ncis. that way we will have 3 hours of primetime tv instead of just 2. how great that will be!

  • chrisjozo

    @ Robert
    How much will rerun ratings be a factor? I’ve noticed that Common Law’s Monday night rerun get almost the same rating as a new episode.

  • Ogla Sungutay

    Great insight Robert. I’m afraid FL will be canceled to make room for the new shows as you suggested.

  • Robert Seidman

    @Ricky: I read that as a distribution deal not co-production (and it might have changed since I last looked but pretty sure David E. Kelly Productions is a Warner Bros. Television shop).

    @ChrisJozo: don’t know how much of a factor it is, but am certain USA looks at that.

    For those taking issue with the notion that USA will have to make room for new shows by getting rid of old ones due to the perception that USA has plenty of “room” for more original content on it’s schedule, it’s true they have plenty of more room from a scheduling standpoint. What it doesn’t have is plenty of budget to fill all those hours with original programming. I don’t see the # of USA originals growing substantially over the next few years.

  • Nick

    These are my opinions on the undecided shows-

    Falling Skies (TNT): :-) :-) :-) :-)
    Falling Skies seems to be TNT’s Terra Nova. TN was Fox’s highest-rated new drama. FS is TNT’s highest rated summer drama. Both have large production costs compared to others. FS’s saving grace is that TNT already knows that it is better rated than Dallas or Franklin & Bash, unlike Fox, which did not know Alcatraz and Touch would bomb.

    Franklin and Bash (TNT): :-) :-) :-) :-)
    No reason why this won’t be renewed.

    Fairly Legal (USA): :-| :-| :-|
    A final season is its best shot

    The Killing (AMC): :-(
    No chance.

    Baby Daddy (ABCFam): :-) :-) :-) :-)
    Good retention of second episode = renewal

    Bunheads (ABCFam): :-) :-) :-) :-)
    See Baby Daddy.

    Jane By Design (ABCFam): :-( :-(
    Sad ratings. Canceled.

    Melissa & Joey (ABCFam): :-| :-| :-|
    We’ll see after the 4th.

    Pretty Little Liars (ABCFam): :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D
    Pretty Little Liars

    Secret Life of the American Teenager (ABCFam): :-) :-) :-) :-)

    Anger Management (FX): :-) :-) :-) :-)
    Charlie Sheen = big ratings. Duh

    Phew. I’m done :-D

  • Charles

    Nick, what do you see as the chances of The Glades getting renewed?

  • Amy

    In terms of Falling Skies, I think they are waiting to see how the third week of its ratings will do.

    In season 1, Falling Skies was renewed after the 4th episode aired. (So they had 3 weeks worth of ratings including the 2 episodes season premiere).

    Dallas was recently renewed after 4 episodes aired (3 weeks worth of ratings including 2 episodes season premiere)

    Rizzoli & Isles was now renewed after 4 episodes aired in this season.

    So I think that’s the TNT structure to see how the first 4 episodes do in ratings in a new season.

  • chrisjozo

    Thanks, Robert.

    I find it interesting that Common Law reruns rate so well relative to it’s first run episodes. Unless people really like watching the same episode twice it would seem that a large part of it’s audience just doesn’t like watching on Friday night.

  • The End


    Entirely likely that TNT are already in talks with Dreamworks etc in a view to renewing Falling Skies.

    Naming another network here as an example.

    Syfy and MGM were in talks before the 10th episode of every Stargate season with a view to renewal, by the time the 10th episode had aired on TV the producers had notification that they were coming back. And the public were made aware.

    Its common for talks to begin for any network really long before the public even knows about it, they don’t just say hey guys we’re renewing this show and that show, they walk all this stuff out behind the scenes prior.

    If TVbythenumbers had a network and a show premiered with amazing numbers, you’d imagine Robert and Bill or a minion of theirs speaking to a studio with a view to getting the show back for another season before the third episode had even aired!

  • Mitch

    @Robert, David E. Kelley is no longer at Warner Bros. To my knowledge, he had a three year deal that expired last year when he decided not to renew it. I believe he’s not attached to any studio right now.

  • 728huey

    The other thing to consider besides new shows in the pipeline at TNT, USA, AMC, FX, ABC Family and A&E are when those shows air during the season. USA tends to split its most successful programs into two mini-seasons, with shows like Royal Pains, White Collar, and Covert Affairs airing summer and winter episodes, Burn Notice airing summer and fall episodes, and Psych airing fall and spring episodes. Suits is probably likely to have that split as well, but I’m not so sure about Necessary Roughness. If it does, it will probably air fall episodes considering its pro football theme.

    Since Fairly Legal has steady but not very spectacular ratings, as well as Common Law, I see them both coming back for another season but only airing during the spring for about nine episodes each. Since FL is shot in Vancouver and is an in-house production (Universal Cable Productions), I could see it coming back next season. I’m not quite as confident on Common Law, but it’s not a hugely expensive production like Falling Skies or even Burn Notice, so even though CBS owns the show it could come back next season.

    As for the TNT shows, there’s not quite as much flexibility on the schedule outside the summer and early fall since they also air NBA basketball, but i would expect Falling Skies to be renewed. Franklin and Bash I’m not so sure about but I’d put its chances at 50/50. Anger Management is probably a lock to return to FX next season but The Killing is probably dead.

  • Chris

    Fairly Legal richly deserves to get axed. They betrayed everything that made the show worth watching in its first season. If they don’t get rid of the new jerk lawyer/love interest, I will never watch another episode.

  • Justin J. Poppiti, Esq.

    I liked the couple of episodes of Fairly Legal that I have seen. Based on that, I’d like FL to be renewed for a third season.

  • Chris

    This writer sums up perfectly just how badly they failed with the second season. The show had some problems that needed fixing–and they just made the problems worse. And introduced new problems. And basically threw away a big chunk of their audience, that is never coming back, whether USA gives it a swan song season or not.

  • Jenna

    Chris, couldn’t disagree with you more. Sorry, but the second season is what made me fall in love with Fairly Legal. Don’t want them to change a thing!

  • Chris

    Going by the much lower ratings for the second season, you’re clearly not just disagreeing with me. If they bring it back the way it was this past season, it’ll see series-lows. Pleasing you personally is not USA’s mission statement, and we’re not conducting a vote here. The vote is conducted by Nielsen, and it went very badly for season two–and if they give it a final season, that’s basically as much of an admission of failure as if they cancel it right now.

  • Jenna

    Chris, I wasn’t saying the network needs to please me personally. There are many others who loved season 2 as well, including the Co-President of USA who spoke about liking season 2 and the addition of Ryan Johnson’s character etc. Also, you can’t compare season 1 and season 2 ratings strictly at face value because the show moved to Friday nights, which is a completely different ballgame when it comes to ratings. Anyway, I wasn’t saying that the network needed to base their renewal decision on my personal opinion, I was just stating mine in response to yours. Agree to disagree.

  • Christine

    LOVE FAIRLY LEGAL!! i really really hope its not going to be cancelled, its one of my favorite shows. i love ben, even though he annoyed the crap out of me at first. cross my fingers and hope for it to be renewed!!

  • JR

    I am glad to hear there is hope for a 3rd season of Falling Skies. This is a must watch for me and the commercials are saying there are only two episodes left so I am fearful that this is all there will be. I would be very disappointed and angry if this turns out to be the case.

© 2015 Tribune Digital Ventures