Deadline Hollywood reported this weekend that production on the first season on NBC’s Constantine will stop after its initial thirteen episode order and that the network will not pick up the “Back 9” episodes to give the show a full season order. Usually this amounts to a cancellation, but the network has claimed that the show is still in contention for a second season pickup. They plan to see how their mid-season entries perform, and strength of the pilots that they have in consideration for next year will be a factor as well. The series only has a 1.0 season to date ratings average based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic which is below the 1.1 average Dracula had in the same timeslot last year and that series was cancelled. In addition, Dracula was less expensive because of funding from international partners whereas Constantine is actually a somewhat costly entry for NBC. The show has seen some decent gains with DVR viewing which the networks are paying more attention to this year and which supposedly helped get ABC’s Forever a full season pickup. And Constantine got off to a late start, so NBC does not have as large of a sampling of its ratings results as it does for the shows that started in September.
But what’s the real story here once you get past all the network-speak?
I’d say that for all practical purposes Constantine is almost certainly done for (I already had it as the most likely show to get cancelled in the latest set of Power Rankings). It’s numbers have never been great, debuting at only a 1.4 rating score which was considerably lower than Dracula‘s 1.8 bow in the same hour last year. Then Constantine pretty quickly dropped below the 1.0 level even though it did rebound this past Friday to a 1.1 score. And even though its 10 PM EST hour seems like a deathslot, it looked like a good pairing with fourth season entry Grimm. And NBC did try to give Constantine some exposure by running a mini-marathon on sister network Syfy last week (which may have resulted in the ratings boost). It’s not impossible that the show could make it to a second season, though. If its remaining episodes can at least hold onto its recent gains (which will be a challenge in low viewership December), then maybe NBC will keep it around as a viable option for the 2015-16 season. And a show of support from the fans would definitely be a boost as well. But I do consider it a long-shot at this point. Most likely Constantine will get banished to the TV Wasteland when it finishes up its thirteen episode run, but maybe that angel on the show has a miracle up his sleeve that he can pull out to help it stay alive. Keep a close eye on its numbers over the next few weeks and when it returns in January to see if they improve or at least hold steady. For now, I am moving the show to a High Cancellation Alert status and it will remain there until we hear final word on its fate in May when the networks present their schedules for next season.