Has Doubt been canceled already? The new CBS show starring Dulé Hill and Katherine Heigl just got canceled by the network after poor ratings for its first two episodes. Though the early Doubt ratings come from just two Wednesday night airings of the new CBS show, the network wasn’t pleased with how the Heigl drama was doing against The Match Game on ABC.
A report by TV By The Numbers breaks down the Wednesday night television ratings from Feb. 22. The second episode of Doubt brought in just over 4 million viewers for CBS, which actually ranked slightly ahead of Match Game (3.61 million) on ABC. The problem is that in the key demographic of young adults, Doubt finished about 33 percent behind the game show.
Sometimes when networks announce that a show is going to be removed from rotation, they allow the show to air its remaining episodes in that time slot. Not only was Doubt canceled, but it is going to be replaced by reruns of Bull for the time being. CBS has been pleased with how Bull is doing during its first season on the air, so this will serve to drive more viewers to the CBS drama over the next few weeks.
CBS does have a long-term plan for the Doubt time-slot, as the second season premiere of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders will take over that time period on March 8. That coincides with the 2017 season premiere of Survivor, which will debut at 8 p.m. PT/ET on that same night. It could have been a huge bump for Doubt ratings, but CBS decided to pull the cord a bit early.
The Doubt cast included some big names from television, with the hopes that viewers would follow those actors and actresses to the new CBS drama. Katherine Heigl, who played Sadie Ellis on the program, is best known for her time on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. She also recently starred in the show State of Affairs, but that program didn’t last very long either. Heigl’s acting credits included a large number of romantic comedies before she returned to television.
Dulé Hill, who played Albert Cobb in the Doubt cast, is best known for his role of Charlie Young on The West Wing. Hill followed up that role with Psych on USA Network, in addition to many smaller film roles. Hill just took to his personal Facebook page to post his frustrations about Doubt getting canceled after just two episodes.
“Waaaaait a second. Wait one whole entire minute now! Are you telling me that when you do a new TV show it doesn’t automatically run for 7 or 8 seasons?!! That’s cold-blooded! Have you heard about Doubt?…that’s messed up right? Thanks to everyone involved in bringing this project to the air. It’s been a joy to be a part of it. This is why it’s called Show Business.”
CBS spent a lot of time over the past summer advertising the Doubt cast, including doing several widely attended panels to show off Katherine Heigl, Laverne Cox, Dulé Hill, Elliot Gould, and Dreama Walker. The focus of the show was on a team of lawyers in New York City, but early reviews of the program didn’t agree that it provided much originality in the genre.
Thirteen episodes of the show were already purchased and filmed by CBS, meaning there is a lot of unseen footage that the network still controls. In instances like this, where a program doesn’t make it past two episodes, sometimes networks will “burn” off those episodes in a short run during the summer. With Doubt canceled after just two episodes, though, this might be the last time that fans see the Katherine Heigl and Dule Hill program.
Doubt’s poor ratings began with the season premiere, which is never good for a new show on television. CBS also has a long track record of not sticking with programs that have poor young adult ratings, giving an early hint that the program wasn’t going to last long on the network. The State of Affairs ratings were even better that the season premiere of Doubt, with the former NBC show debuting to a solid 2.2 rating among adults from 18-49 back in November 2014.
The key demographic rating for the Doubt series premiere was just 0.8, not stacking up well against other shows on the network, let alone its Wednesday night competition. Losing the demo rating is a big deal, as this is where advertisers look when paying high fees for primetime commercials. If an expensive show with cast members like Katherine Heigl can’t pull in good ratings numbers, then there isn’t a place for CBS to make up the production costs.
Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders will now try to fix the black hole of programming for CBS at 10 p.m. PT/ET on Wednesday nights. CBS shows like Stalker, Code Black, and CSI: Cyber have turned in poor ratings from the time slot in the past. With Doubt canceled, the network may also pay very close attention to the Bull ratings in that time slot to see if it compares well to the most-watched 10 p.m. programs.
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