When it returned for a third season in February, ABC‘s Body Of Proof appeared destined to join the scores of other series that have died a quick death after a major retooling. The crime procedural starring Dana Delany opened with a 1.2/3 in 18-49, down an alarming 45% from its Season 2 premiere and tied as a series low, and 6.8 million total viewers. But unlike two other dramas that crashed and burned with retooled versions this midseason, NBC’s Smash and Fox’s Touch, Body Of Proof has improved on its underwhelming start. Since Episode 5, the show has not fallen under 1.4 18-49 rating and 8.4 million total viewers. And last week, the drama hit a 1.6 in 18-49 and 9.3 million viewers, matching its season high in the demo and posting its second largest audience of the season. It won the 10 PM hour, beating CBS’ Golden Boy by 14% in 18-49 and 1.4 million viewers. While older skewing, Body Of Proof ranks as ABC’s third most watched drama, only behind Dancing With The Stars-buoyed Castle and flagship Grey’s Anatomy.
What’s more, I hear ABC brass are happy with the reworked version of Body Of Proof, which they consider an improvement over the original series creatively. Additionally, the procedural is a major moneymaker for ABC sibling ABC Studios with strong international sales. Cancelling the show as it heads into Season 4 would be detrimental to Disney-ABC’s bottom line, especially after Body of Proof won the California tax credit lottery, making it even more appealing financially. Tonight is the show’s last chance to make its case for renewal before ABC makes its pickup decisions for next season. If it succeeds, Body Of Proof will become the first in long line of retooled shows, that also includes NBC’s Law & Order: LA, Harry’s Law and Up All Night, Fox’s Human Target and USA’s Fairly Legal, to survive the revamp.