The series that started the cross border production boom--Flashpoint--failed to make the cut on CBS's just-announced fall schedule.
CBS unveiled their 2009-10 network schedule today and there were some surprises. But for the Canadian production community--and especially CTV--the biggest may be the omission of Flashpoint, which has been replaced next season on Friday nights stateside by the NBC cast off Medium.
According to today's release, CBS sees Medium as forming "a hauntingly compatible two-hour block" with Ghost Whisperer at 8 and Numb3rs at 10. The Patricia Arquette drama is also hauntingly compatible with CBS Television Studios, who produces both Ghost Whisperer and Medium. (Nikke Finke's dishy Deadline Hollywood Daily has the whole tug of war over Medium, read that story here).
There was no word about Flashpoint's fate on today's CBS fall schedule release, but apparently it will return at some point as a mid-season replacement. In this morning's in person CBS press conference, CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler said more episodes of Flashpoint are available for summer or later.
Flashpoint was the show with all the heat, the crime drama held up as proof the new, international co-production business model could work. After finding a steady audience on Friday night, why didn't it crack the fall schedule?
There are several reasons. No. 1, while Flashpoint was generally winning its Friday night timeslot on CBS, it was trending down and lagging slightly behind Ghost Whisperer and Numb3rs (CBS Last Friday: Ghost Whisperer 8.93 million viewers, Flashpoint 8.42 million, Numb3rs 9.6 million). Worse, it was skewing old, missing the target 18-49 demo networks and advertisers crave.
It was always a bigger hit in Canada, where Flashpoint drew 1,223,000 "commercial" viewers last Friday according to BBM Canada (the same night the new CTV series that follows Flashpoint, Spectacle, dropped to a series low 331,000). That easily made Flashpoint Canada's highest-rated show of the night.
CTV recently sent out a release last week heralding Flashpoint as one of its success stories this season, cracking the Canadian Top-20. According to the release, the Toronto-based cop show's season-to-date number in Canada averaged close to 1.3 million viewers a week, ranking it as the 18th most-watched show in the nation.
None of that matters in the U.S., where Flashpoint may have gotten caught in the crossfire of changing times. Several crime dramas have been slashed off schedules during the upfront announcements this week, including CBS dramas Without a Trace and The Unit. Dark, crime procedurals are giving way to what network insiders are calling "blue skies" shows. NBC boasts it now has more comedies on its new schedule than any other network, including the five-night-a-week Jay Leno Show strip at 10 as well as new comedies Parenthood and the Chevy Chase series Community. (See the full NBC schedule here).
As expected, CBS did name one other Can-Am produced, Toronto-lensed cop drama to its mid-season schedule: The Bridge. The ripped from the headlines story of a police union boss hails from E! Entertainment and is also scheduled for next season on CTV. Read CBS's full new season release here.