NBC cancels 'Providence'
HOLLYWOOD, California (Reuters) -- NBC is uprooting the road to "Providence," pulling the Friday-night drama at the end of December, Variety reports.
But while they canceled one show Monday, NBC executives picked up two others, making full-season orders of rookie dramas "American Dreams" and "Boomtown."
"Providence," which stars Melina Kanakaredes as a physician who returns to her Rhode Island roots, will conclude its run December 20 with a two-hour finale. NBC ordered only 13 episodes this season, instead of the usual 22, so the decision to ax the series was not wholly unexpected. As a matter of fact, insiders said NBC planned all along to end the show before midseason, barring any ratings miracle.
The drama bowed in January 1999 to mixed critical reaction and low expectations. But "Providence" surprised just about everyone -- including NBC executives -- by going on to dominate its time period among adults 18-49 and help NBC take over Friday nights.
"This is a show that debuted to terrible reviews from everybody but the audience," NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker said. " 'Providence' has been an unbelievably strong performer for five seasons. It's going to go out in style with a huge storyline."
"Providence" continues to win its slot among total viewers, averaging 10.2 million so far this fall (down 15 percent from last year). But after five seasons, "Providence" has shown its age, pulling just a 2.7 rating and 9 share among adults 18-49 this season -- down 13 percent from last year and far below what it once averaged.
It's unclear what might replace "Providence" on Fridays at 8 p.m. starting in January, although midseason drama "Mr. Sterling" is one possibility.
Pondering new series
The "American Dreams" and "Boomtown" renewals represent NBC's first "back nine" orders of the season. NBC has yet to decide the long-term fates of new comedies "In-Laws," "Hidden Hills" and "Good Morning Miami."
The full-season greenlights for "Dreams" and "Boomtown" come as both shows improve NBC's fortunes on Sunday night.
"Boomtown," a crime drama that received some of this fall's best critical reviews, has averaged a 4.3/10 with adults 18-49, up 8 percent vs. the short-lived "UC: Undercover" last year in the slot.
"American Dreams," meanwhile, has averaged a 4.4/11 with adults 18-49, winning its hour in three out of four tries (although against abnormal competition on Fox, which generally takes the hour). The nostalgiac family drama continues to see a strong 20 percent build from its first to second half-hour.
NBC had been testing repeats of "Dreams" at 7 p.m. on Sundays, but Zucker said the network discontinued that practice after last week.