Second Time No Charm For 'Playboy Club' 'Charlie's Angels' & 'Prime Suspect': What Went Wrong?

NBC’s The Playboy Club and Prime Suspect and ABC’s Charlie’s Angels had two things in common going into this fall. Highly recognizable titles, for once, as they all were based on famous brands. And they all got on the air after 2 consecutive rounds of development. Now they share something else: they all launched to disappointingly low ratings and are staring down the cancellation barrel. How did that happen?

Just a month ago, things were looking up for the 3 series. Besides pre-sold titles, all were backed by extensive promotional campaigns and all had a strong marketing hook. For Playboy Club, it was the Playboy empire which threw its support by hosting  pre-launch parties at the Playboy mansion and doing a special cover of Playboy magazine promoting the show’s launch. For Charlie’s Angels, it was Drew Barrymore’s involvement as an executive producer. (She even appeared as a presenter at the Emmys alongside the series’ stars.) Prime Suspect had a well-known film actress, Maria Bello, as the lead. Additionally, in their road to the screen, all 3 drams seemed to follow the successful formula of CBS’s Hawaii Five-0. CBS originally put the reboot of the classic procedural in development during the 2008-09 development season with Ed Bernero as the writer. The project didn’t go to pilot, and the following season, CBS tried again with new writers: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Peter Lenkov. The script sailed through the pilot stage and the show landed on CBS’ 2010 fall schedule. (more…)

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