It was a long shot and we stressed that a Season 2 renewal for canceled Whiskey Cavalier was unlikely but fans of the show were still holding out hope. Now it’s official — ABC will not be reversing its cancellation decision. Whiskey Cavalier creator/executive producer David Hemingson tweeted the news to fans.
“I just got the sad news that @ABCNetwork has passed. #WhiskeyCavalier has been fully and finally cancelled,” he wrote. “It’s incredibly painful to say goodbye to this show and our extraordinary cast, but knowing that we made something you enjoyed – and that I believe will stand the test of time – makes it all worthwhile.”
As we reported yesterday, ABC this week decided to take another quick look at the feasibility of renewing freshman Whiskey Cavalier, toplined by Scott Folley and Lauren Cohan. Series executive producer Bill Lawrence, who had been encouraging fans on Twitter to reach out to ABC and speak out against the cancellation, was behind the effort to get the spy series back on the network. I hear he reached out to ABC executives with some encouraging recent ratings data and they agreed to conduct a brief review.
A final decision was to be made quickly because the show’s stars Foley and Cohan have been being courted for other projects and it is costly for producer Warner Bros. TV to continue to hold onto the the drama’s expansive sets.
In one of the most dramatic developments this upfront season, ABC at the 11th hour axed Whiskey Cavalier after one short season.
While not entirely unexpected given the show’s overall 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.
Since then, Whiskey Cavalier saw 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 could take advantage of ABC’s comedy block as a lead-in.
But following the cancellation news, this week’s finale, boosted by a strong lead-in from the live staging of All In the Family and The Jeffersons, Whiskey Cavalier drew its best Live+same day numbers since the show’s Wednesday debut, posting a 0.7 rating in adults 18-49, almost doubling its recent results, and 3.8 million viewers. The drama also is a major DVR gainer, more than doubling its Live+same delivery.
I hear the big ratings jump in the finale, which featured cliffhangers, paired with strong delayed viewing numbers for last week’s episode were a major factor in ABC brass’ decision to reconsider the show’s cancellation. Additionally, it 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.
WBTV jumped into action immediately after ABC canceled Whiskey Cavalier the weekend before the upfronts, pitching the show to various 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.
But ABC was considered the most realistic option. While other canceled broadcast drama series, like Lucifer and Designated Survivor, wound up on Netflix, the streaming platform already had full or partial international distribution rights to those shows, which is not the case with Whiskey Cavalier. For WBTV, which relies on strong international sales for the series, having it on a broadcast network in the U.S. was considered the most advantageous scenario.
Whiskey Cavalier followed 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.
Hemingson created and writes the series and serves as executive producer alongside Lawrence, Jeff Ingold and pilot director Peter Atencio. Foley is also a producer.