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Fall TV 2014: Don’t Put Dirt on Nashville’s Grave Just Yet

May 10, 2014

To paraphrase Juliet Barnes’ career-ending crossover smash bold as hell single, “don’t put dirt on [Nashville’s] grave just yet…

Britton & Panettiere. ABC.

Britton & Panettiere. ABC.

That one was down to the wire… apparently fueled by everything but the ratings, ABC decided late last night to keep Nashville on the schedule for third 22-episode season. In what seems to be one of the most honest talks out there, it appears that a combination of tax breaks from Tennessee and the iTunes success of the songs commissioned for the show have offset the ratings slide. Of course, the show also does quite well in DVR numbers – they’ve seen increases by as much as 92% of their initial 18-49 averages. Plus, the audience that does watch is advertiser-friendly (wealthy) and very loyal. I don’t care how they did. I love the show and am so excited it will be back.

With stars like Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere in front of and Callie Khouri (the Oscar-winning writer behind Thelma & Louise and Nashville‘s creator/showrunner) behind the camera, the show is expensive. The cast is large. But, with the decision to send the supporting cast – Charles Esten, Clare Bowe, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio, Chris Carmack and Will Chase – on the road for a small tour this summer, the download sales (the morning after ABC aired a special Nashville concert instead of the show, it claimed 19 spots on the Country Top 100 singles charts) and this tax credit, there is hope that it will keep the show running well enough to start to actually build a stronger live audience.

Yesterday was a flurry of cancelations and pickups. Check for more updates.

The only high-profile show we’re waiting to hear back from at this time is NBC’s Parenthood, which is considering a shortened run for next season, but the network brass is only wanting to shell out money for nine episodes apiece for their behemoth cast. We’ll see where it stands. Throwing it to the wolves against Scandal on Thursday nights didn’t help the ratings, but the show also never did a significant nose-dive, showing the fan base is there; loyal and stable. In the meantime, we’ll celebrate this small victory for quality TV.


Not yet following me on Twitter? Get on the sofa: @josephrileyland

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