In one of the most dramatic developments this upfront season, ABC at the 11th hour canceled its freshman spy drama Whiskey Cavalier starring Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan, after one season.
“It was a tough decision, it was the last decision we made,” ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke said at the Disney upfront press conference Tuesday morning. “We thought we gave it very strong launch in spring. But we lost audience. We felt the biggest opportunity was to try something new. We looked for other time slots but did not see a real opportunity to grow.”
While not entirely unexpected given the show’s ratings performance, this was still a stunning development as Whiskey Cavalier had been touted as one of ABC’s biggest new series for this season and became the network’s first scripted show to launch after the Oscars. That is the big launch Burke was referring to.
Since then, Whiskey Cavalier has seen its ratings decline until settling into subpar 0.4 adults 18-49 rating (Live+Same Day), airing in the Wednesday 10 PM slot picked so the comedic drama cold take advantage of ABC’s comedy block as a lead-in. The drama is a major DVR gainer, more than doubling its Live+same delivery but it’s starting from a small base.
Still, the show has big stars in Scandal’s Foley and The Walking Dead’s Cohan and a seasoned team behind it in creator/exec producer David Hemingson and exec producer Bill Lawrence.
I hear factoring in the cancelation decision was the fact that ABC, also at the last minute, moved in to pick up to series NBC drama pilot Emergence, which is produced by ABC Studios. I hear it came down to one spot, and it went to Emergence as ABC brass thought they needed to try something new in the time slot.
Warner Bros. TV, which is producing Whiskey Cavalier, is shopping it to other outlets/platforms. It is a sleek, big-budget, globe-trotting actioner, which is important to the studio for its international sale appeal and because of the big investment the studio already has made in it.
Whiskey Cavalier follows the globe trotting adventures of two very different secret agents Will Chase (Foley) and Frankie Trowbridge (Cohan). That cast also includes Ana Ortiz, Tyler James Williams and Vir Das.
David Hemingson created and writes the series and serves as executive producer alongside Bill Lawrence, Jeff Ingold and pilot director Peter Atencio. Foley is also a producer.
Season to date, Whiskey Cavalier is averaging a 1.2 adults 18-49 and 6.6 million viewers (most current).
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