EXCLUSIVE: The freshman season of NBC drama Constantine will consist of 13 episodes. The cast and crew of the series were informed on Friday that the series will halt production after completing production on the initial 13-episode order. Constantine will remain in its 10 PM Friday time slot for the remainder of its run.
While NBC recently made a similar decision on freshmen comedy series Bad Judge and A To Z, I hear the circumstances are different. While Bad Judge and A To Z had been de facto cancelled, Constantine remains in contention for a second-season renewal.
NBC had to make a decision whether to keep Constantine in continuous production with little ratings information. While the series began production on a standard fall premiere production schedule, its launch was delayed until late October when NBC’s Friday genre block usually debuts, so the network had to make a call whether to order additional episodes after only four episodes had aired vs. at least seven, which is the norm for freshman series.
Constantine, executive produced by Daniel Cerone and David Goyer, has not been a breakout the way fellow NBC Friday genre drama Grimm was in its debut. But NBC brass were probably encouraged by the freshman’s +38% week-to-week ratings jump for Episode 5 this Friday, hours after the decision to halt production was made official. It was the show’s highest mark since the series debut, and its best retention of the Grimm lead-in, also since the premiere. Additionally, Constantine, based on the DC property, has a strong fan base because of its comic origins and has seen big DVR lifts, most recently rising +81% in Live+3 for Episode 4, regarded by fans as a possible creative turning point in the series.
NBC has been supportive of the show, running a marathon of episodes on cable sibling Syfy this weekend and slating Constantine cast members to appear on the network’s broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade next week.
It is not clear what NBC will air in the Friday 10 PM time period after Constantine’s run is over, though previous slot occupant Hannibal, which has been renewed for a third season, is considered a strong possibility. NBC has three new drama series on tap for midseason, Allegiance, Odyssey, Aquarius, as well as miniseries The Slap.
Constantine was one of three DC-themed new dramas this fall. The other two, Gotham on Fox and The Flash on the CW, both earning full-season orders.
So far this season, NBC has given a full-season pickup to procedural drama The Mysteries Of Laura and a partial one to comedy Marry Me.