Fans of ABC’s two country music TV series are split Friday (May 10th) with the news of drama Nashville getting a second season renewal while sitcom Malibu Country getting cancelled. The news comes ahead of ABC’s Upfront presentation in New York on Tuesday when the network reveals it’s fall schedule to ad buyers.
Nashville debuted last fall to a whopping nine million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49. Despite a drop in ratings from the premiere, the show has managed to average a 1.9 in ratings with six million viewers. The series has also managed to tap into ancillary revenues by releasing two soundtracks and scoring big with digital downloads of the T-Bone Burnett produced original music. A tour featuring the four main cast members is also reportedly in the works which is sure to bring even more revenue.
Nashville stars Hayden Panettiere as young country superstar Juliette Barnes and Connie Britton as fading country legend Rayna James who vie for attention from the record label they share. The series also stars Charles Esten as Deacon, Clare Bowen as Scarlett, Sam Palladio as Gunnar and Jonathan Jackson as Avery.
Nashville: The Complete First Season will be released on DVD on September 17th. The set will contain all 22 first season episodes on five discs with never before seen bonus material including deleted scenes, bloopers and extensive behind-the-scenes featurettes.
BOTH SERIES PERFORMED WELL FOR ABC
Reba McEntire’s Malibu Country also premiered strong with its November 2nd debut receiving a 2.3 with 9.13 million viewers in the coveted 18-49 demo. Despite ratings dropping throughout the series’ 18 episode order, ABC announced the series as the highest-rated freshman comedy of the 2012 fall TV season with an average of seven million viewers so it doesn’t appear that ratings were the reason for the cancellation. It even out performed Nashville and renewed ABC series The Neighbors. It probably has more to do with the fact the series burned through two showrunners during its short life and couldn’t secure a new one to take the show in the right direction. CMT should consider picking up the series.
There’s no doubt the series soared high due to McEntire’s superstar power and popularity, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to give the series a second season order. ABC made a big mistake here. It was a great companion to Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing on Friday nights as both shows were the network’s only multi-camera half hour comedies. And not to mention, it performed really well for a show that aired on Fridays. I thought they’d at least keep it as a mid season replacement for some failing show that doesn’t deserve a chance to even air.
Malibu Country was created by Dave Stewart of The Eurymics for McEntire to star as Reba McKenzie, a divorced mom and country music singer who relocates her two kids and mother from Nashville to a Malibu beach house she was granted during the divorce from her cheating rock star ex-husband (played by Jeffrey Nordling) to restart her music career. Malibu Country also started Lily Tomlin as Reba’s mother Lily Mae, Sara Rue as neighbor Kim and Jai Rodriguez as record label assistant Geoffrey.
Malibu Country marked McEntire’s return to TV after a five year hiatus. Her first sitcom, Reba, had a successful six year run on The WB/The CW from 2001-2007.
Nashville is produced by ABC Studios and Lionsgate while Malibu Country was produced by ABC Studios.