Deadline broke the news that NBC has decided to not continue production on Constantine. A network opting to not order more episodes leads to handwringing by audience and crew alike. What does it mean? Are the suits not happy? Why aren't they being more patient? Does that mean the show won't come back?
The Deadline article makes a strong case for why those fears and questions, while grounded, should be held in check. A "+38% week-to-week ratings jump" for the fifth episode is a good sign, the +81% bump in viewership thanks to DVR for the fourth episode is even better.
It may not appear to be so, yet the network suits have become quite a bit more patient and savvy with the shows they are sheparding. That's thanks in part to the successes of shows like The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, two shows that watched their audiences increase over time--admittedly at different rates and for different reasons, but execs aren't oblivious. NBC has also demonstrated a willingness to stick with shows with solid fan bases and a strong media presence. Chuck and Community survived as long as they did because they had a cultural relevancy that far outstripped their ratings numbers. Yahoo picking up Community speaks to that. Lastly, networks have audience data that wasn't available to them previously. You can bet NBC isn't casually ignoring the numbers coming in. It is a business after all.
Which reminds us to factor in the economics. Networks take a hit when it cancels other shows. Whatever episodes that are in the can will have to be burned off. When the ratings on various shows don't meet expecatations, networks have to make good with advertisters. That's all to say that NBC can't order new episodes in a vacuum. Those costs have to be factored in as they make their decisions on any of their shows. It sucks to be at the mercy of another show's success or failure, but them's the breaks.
As of now, take this announcement at face value and don't read too much into it. Constantine stopping at 13 isn't the end, yet. There are still eight more episodes to air. With the critical buzz starting to turn around (reviews for episodes four and five are much more positive about the show's direction than they were for the pilot) and the audience growing, there's reason to believe Constantine will be back for season 2. Let's just hope they choose to stay in the A when that happens.
‘Constantine’ To Stop Production After 13 Episodes, Remains In Contention At NBC