ABC declines more Eastwick

Network orders extra crime drama instead.

2009-05-21_02ABC has declined to give its freshman supernatural series Eastwick a back nine episode order for the season, in a move that raises concern over its possible cancellation later in the year.

The show was competing with crime drama The Forgotten, a production from Christian Slater, for the extra episode order, but its performance in the ratings was below what the network wanted to justify more investment.

We are currently entering the midseason period, where networks typically begin to decide on whether to keep new pilot shows, extend their usual 13-episode order or to cancel them entirely. This year has seen a number of odd moves from network scheduling and executives, ostensibly due to the disruption caused by the coverage of the Winter Olympics early next year from every major station. Dollhouse, for instance, is on an accelerated run to finish up before the midseason while Chuck may be brought forward by NBC. V, another ABC show, is airing four episodes and then coming back several months later, although its stellar debut figures may force a rethink.

All is not lost for Eastwick however, which is adapted from the 1987 film starring Jack Nicholson and Cher, itself adapted from a 1984 novel by John Updike. First seasons of drama series on the majors, particularly science fiction or fantasy, have recently been 13 episodes long as a rule, unless significant confidence is evident on the network’s part. Battlestar Galactica, Chuck, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and many others are evidence of this, and mostly returned for a second outing. FlashForward and The Vampire Diaries are so far the only new genre series to gain a back nine, with the exception of Caprica, which was already commissioned for a full season order.

This news was originally broken by James Hibberd at The Hollywood Reporter.