Though it’s been said often, and not just by me, it certainly bears repeating: you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. You can create a good television show, but you can’t force people to watch.
It is being widely reported today (at Cynopsis, Mediaweek, and The Hollywood Reporter, among other places) that NBC has cancelled Kidnapped. As is the case with television, the term “cancellation” will not actually ever be uttered by the network. Rather, it seems likely the show will be put “on hiatus” and certainly, the “back nine” will not be ordered. Translated into English, “on hiatus” means the show will be taken off the schedule to air either at some point in the future or never at all. The “back nine” not being ordered means NBC had already ordered thirteen episodes of the series but they will not be requesting the last nine episodes normally ordered with a full 22-episode season for Kidnapped.
At this point, NBC has committed itself to airing all thirteen episodes, and has not yet put the show on hiatus. However, it is unclear whether or not their agreement with Sony Pictures Television (the show’s production company) will have the show continue to air in its current spot or if it will be pulled until the summer, when NBC can dump the episodes with little fanfare and a minimal impact on its bottom line.
Being the show hit the tank so early and not all thirteen episodes of the initial order had been written/filmed, Kidnapped will be able to wrap up its story arc. When initially conceived, the notion was the first season would focus on a single case, and the next season on a different case. This would have allowed for the investigators to come back in a regular role next season and to dismiss the family from the first season, but it also would have made it easy for the producers to jettison the entire cast in favor of a new one.
Kidnapped is actually the second of two kidnapping shows to air this season. The first is Vanished, which also has not earned stellar ratings. Last night marked the first night Kidnapped faced what would have been its usual competition on ABC as well as CBS. Kidnapped had not been doing well even before facing the premiere episode of The Nine on ABC. And while the cancellation must have already been in the works, the show’s weak performance last night certainly did nothing to stave off its demise.
So long, Kidnapped. I, for one (and with its ratings, maybe the only one), will miss you.