Wayward Pines, from Chad Hodge and M. Night Shyamalan, was one of the first two event series greenlighted by Fox as part of its current push in the arena, getting a pickup alongside 24: Live Another Day in May 2013. Since then, Fox aired Live Another Day; ordered, aired and cancelled another limited series, Gracepoint; and cast Wayward Pines co-star Terrence Howard in a pilot, Empire, which went to series, became a hit and was renewed for a second season. (Wayward Pines co-star Juliette Lewis also has since done a pilot, ABC’s Secrets & Lies, which went to series and has been picked up for a second season).
Debuting exactly two years after it was picked up, Wayward Pines got off to an unremarkable start against the season finales of Scandal and The Blacklist and the NBA playoffs, opening below Gracepoint to a soft 1.0 adults 18-49 rating in Live+Same Day. But then the Shyamalan-directed premiere almost doubled its demo delivery in Live+3, posting a record percentage DVR lift for a Fox opener and a 2014-15 new series debut on any network — 90% — to rise to a 1.9 rating. The premiere added two more tenths in L+7 to get to a 2.1.
Proving that the ratings spike was more than viewer curiosity in sampling a TV effort from The Sixth Sense filmmaker, Wayward Pines continued to post big DVR lifts. And demonstrating again how misleading Live+SD ratings are these days, while the mystery drama declined in Week 4 in L+SD — it posted 1.0, 1.2, 1.2, 1.1 in 18-49 for the four telecasts — in L+7 it actually hit a series high in Week 4 (2.1, 2.3, 2.2, 2.4). The 118% lift the show got from L+SD to L+7 set a record for the biggest ever percentage-wise for a summer series.
The somewhat surprisingly solid and consistent ratings performance by Wayward Pines has not gone unnoticed. I hear there is interest in another season of the mystery series. Because of the long time frame between the project’s pickup/production and its airdate, the options on all actors lapsed long ago. (Wayward Pines’ cast also includes Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino and Melissa Leo.) I hear the idea is to explore a potential second installment with different characters and cast but in the same world, which would not be a straight anthology format. I hear talks are preliminary, and Fox brass are expected to meet with the Wayward Pines creative team soon to discuss the possibilities.
As a testament to the new reality where the digital ratings performance is as important if not more important than the linear one, NBC today renewed another drama whose launch had been delayed, Aquarius, on the strength of its digital performance, despite its lukewarm ratings on the network.