ABC has been touting its new series The Whispers for having the biggest debut of a Summer series in two years (based on the Live+7 numbers), but the show’s ratings aren’t quite as rosy as they would have you believe and the network will be forced to make a decision on it by next week. The show did bow to a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic based on the overnights at the beginning of June and those are decent numbers for a Summer series. But the very next week, it dropped by one third to a 1.0 rating and has remained at that level since. The delayed viewing gains have been good with the show seeing 60 to 70 percent gains in the Live+3 and Live+7 categories, but those are mostly just useful for PR as the sponsors (whose advertising revenue covers the production costs of the shows) care mostly about the overnights. Of course the 1.0 rating that The Whispers has averaged since it debut might be enough to keep it alive in Summer, especially if it is not too costly to produce. But the ABC executives will not have too much time to mull it over as an important deadline is approaching.
According to Deadline Hollywood, the cast options for a second season will expire next week at the end of June meaning that ABC has to make a move before then if they want the show to continue into next Summer. The deadline is an issue because The Whispers was originally intended to bow at mid-season which would have given the network plenty of time to make a decision about its second season. But now it will have only aired five episodes by the time that the cast contracts expire, and the numbers for that fifth airing will only be in at the last minute. Word is that ABC tried to extend the deadline but couldn’t work something out. So they may take this to the eleventh hour and next Monday’s episode could be the key to the show’s survival. If that one holds steady in the ratings or improves slightly, then that could be the tipping point to convince the network to greenlight a second season. But if it dips, ABC may decide it is not worth keeping the show around. I had previously suggested that the network may have lost faith in the show before it aired and pushed it to Summer as essentially a burn-off run. And that may have been the case, but the decent premiere numbers could have led ABC to think twice about it. According to Deadline, the network has been happy with the show’s performance and they are leaning towards renewal. And that is why I think Monday’s episode is crucial. If the ratings falter, the network may balk at renewal, so I believe that the show at least needs to hold steady (it did improve slightly this last Monday as it pulled a 1.0 rating vs. the 0.9 it had the prior week, see stats below).
Fans of the show should probably take to the internet to bring some attention to it in hopes of boosting viewership for next week’s episode (and trending on Twitter wouldn’t hurt either). Because ABC has to make a decision and any last-minute positive numbers could sway them towards renewal.
The Whispers ABC Mon 6/22 10 PM
Rating: 1.0 | % Chng PW: +11.1% | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.9 | StD Rating: 1.1 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate