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NBC Cancels Blair Underwood's 'Ironside' Reboot After Just 3 Episodes

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act October 18, 2013 at 5:43PM

Shocked? Not me. Not at all. And if you read my thoughts on the premiere episode, and those after, you really shouldn't be shocked either.
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Ironside

Shocked? Not me. Not at all. And if you read my thoughts on the premiere episode, and those after, you really shouldn't be shocked either.

The series just hasn't been quite the draw that NBC likely hoped it would be. 

The debut of Ironside drew decent numbers - 6.8 million viewers and a 1.4 rating (adults 18-49) - thanks in part to the series that leads into it, Law & Order: SVU

Ironside retained 99.7% of the total-viewer lead-in from SVU, during its season debut night.

That retention didn't quite continue in successive weeks, however, as the most recent episode, which aired on Wednesday, drew 4.8 million viewers and a 1.0 rating. Those aren't necessarily terrible numbers... if you're a cable TV network, that is. But when you're NBC, and you're in a distant 3rd place behind CBS (9.45 million) and ABC (5.76 million) during the Wednesday 10pm hour (when Ironside airs), it's just not a good look.

Repeating what I've said previously, this is a new series that I didn't think would last more than 1 season, and expected that it might not even last through the whole first season, given how anxious networks have become when new shows aren't performing as strongly as hoped for - especially when compared to the competition - and how quick they are to cancel said shows.

Having watched all 3 episodes that did air, from my POV, there's really nothing all-that special about this Ironside reboot that makes it stand out from all the other cop shows on TV currently, and in recent years - other than the fact that the title character is black, as played by Blair Underwood. And that's just not quite enough, when you consider that it seems to be going for something far more gritty, rough and tumble, compared to the 1960s original that starred Raymond Burr, which it doesn't really succeed at, in a cop/detective/crime-solving TV series climate that includes much darker, more graphic, moodier material in the likes of Law & Order: SVU, the CSI franchise, and others.

NBC has unfortunately struck out in the new series department with black leads, over the last 3 or so seasons - remember Undercovers 3 years ago; Deception last season, and now we have Ironside

Underwood did co-star in another NBC series that was canceled after its first season - remember The Event? Just like that action-adventure series, Ironside is now history.

Via press release, NBC has announced it will debut Dick Wolf’s Chicago P.D. (the spin-off of Chicago Fire) in Ironside's timeslot - at 10 pm on Wednesdays, starting on January 8.

In the meantime, over the next 2 months, replacing Ironside in that 10pm slot, for November and December, NBC will air a string of original programming, including new episodes of DatelineSaturday Night Live holiday-themed specials, as well as holiday music specials starring Kelly Clarkson and Michael Buble.

Chicago P.D. will star Jason Beghe, Jon Seda, and Sophia Bush as Windy City cops. The show is a spinoff of NBC’s popular Tuesday night drama Chicago Fire, which continues to see significant ratings increases in its second season.

Blair Underwood's NBC reboot of 1960s/1970s crime drama series Ironside, co-starred, alongside Underwood, Spencer GrammerBrent SextonPablo SchreiberNeal Bledsoe, and Kenneth Choi.

The series is written and exec produced by Michael Caleo (Rescue MeThe Sopranos), and exec produced by David Semel, Teri WeinbergJohn Davis, and Jon Fox.

It's worth noting that, a year ago, Underwood signed what was then referred to as "a major development/talent holding deal" with NBC/Universal TV.

So expect that, under the above agreement, both sides will make another attempt, with another series, starring Underwood.

This article is related to: TV News, Blair Underwood


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