FOX’s vampire-pocalypse series The Passage just wrapped up its first season and the finale has left many wondering what will happen in the show’s second year. But at this point, there is no guarantee that it will be returning to the network’s schedule next season. Based on the Justin Cronin book of the same name, the show debuted in January to decent same day ratings pulling a 1.3 rating based on the 18-49 demographic with 5.2 million total viewers. If it had held around those levels, it would have been a viable candidate for renewal, but the numbers dropped notably in the weeks to come. The show wrapped up on March 11th with a two-hour episode that pulled a 0.8 rating for its first hour and a 0.7 for its second. And its overall average was a 0.9 score across ten episodes. It did see decent gains from delayed viewing, but perhaps not enough to overshadow its mediocre same day numbers.
The Passage had long been in development with 20th Century Fox, starting with plans to adapt Cronin’s novel into a feature film back in 2007 (the book itself was not published until 2010). Ridley Scott was originally attached to the project as director, and then Matt Reeves stepped in to helm the film. After a few more years in development Hell, Fox then decided to shift the project to the small screen. Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions was still attached to it and a pilot was filmed in 2017, but Fox executives decided that needed some reshoots and pushed it off-cycle. The property finally had its television debut in January 2019 after over ten years of development, but the somewhat modest reception may not have justified all those years of planning and production.
This was a passion-project on the Fox side, but Disney will not have the same attachment once they have acquired The Passage as part of the Fox buyout. The Mouse House will want almost certainly want to clean house on any under-performing properties that it acquires, and this one could fall into that category. It’s not uncommon to see a wave of cancellations when new management takes over, which puts the show very much at risk.
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But don’t count it out just yet. I have moved it to Bubble status, but it may have a better chance than The Gifted which is also facing struggles on Fox (more on that one at this link). The Passage is just a little below the network’s mean for non-sports, non-special, non-repeat programming based on its full-season average. If it has developed much of a fanbase, then they should definitely take this opportunity to make a Call to Action on the social networks and bring some attention to the show. It’s numbers overall are not that terrible, and a raucous showing from the fans could tip the scales in the show’s favor. The Disney buyout definitely makes it more difficult to gauge the fate of this one and other Fox shows, but if fans can make a stand then it might just have a chance of continuing its tale into a second season.
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