Despite improving its ratings in the second half of its recent midseason run and getting good marks creatively, crime drama Body Of Proof couldn’t avoid the retool curse, getting a pass from ABC on Friday after three seasons, the latest series to get cancelled after being reworked. But the show is not as cold as the corpses on Megan Hunt’s (Dana Delany) table yet. I’ve learned that producer ABC Studios is actively shopping the drama series. In addition to the usual suspects for such a character-driven procedural with a strong lead — TNT and USA Network — I hear also in the mix is Tribune’s WGN America, which is in building mode, looking to join the ranks of cable networks offering original programming. With its average of 11 million viewers and 2.0/6 in 18-49 this season, Body Of Proof would bring a sizable audience to a cable network. (It ranked as the third-most-watched ABC drama this season, behind only Dancing With The Stars-buoyed Castle and flagship Grey’s Anatomy). The prospect of WGN America is particularly intriguing as the network only signaled its intention to get in the original scripted game in March, and acquiring an existing show is the fastest way of doing that. On the superstation, Body Of Proof would fit with the current off-network drama offerings, all crime procedurals, particularly the only contemporary hourlong series Bones.
Cancelling Body Of Proof at ABC was financially detrimental to sibling ABC Studios, which has incurred three seasons worth of deficits on the show and is making a lot of money off of it internationally. Additionally, Body Of Proof won the California tax credit lottery, making keeping it going it even more appealing.
Last May, another broadcast procedural with a female lead, CBS’ Unforgettable, found itself in a similar position when CBS cancelled it despite decent ratings. Like Body Of Proof, it explored a move to cable until CBS reversed its decision and renewed the show for a summer run. I hear ABC Studios is trying to move quickly on Body Of Proof so it doesn’t lose the writers who, given the situation, would have to start looking for new jobs.