By mid-May, the broadcast networks must make some tough calls as to which series will return for the 2017-18 TV season, and which… won’t.
As that deadline draws near, TVLine is singling out a few “bubble” shows and sizing up their prospects — based in large part on creative strides (and stumbles) and future potential, but also with a requisite nod to cold, hard numbers.
Next up is an ambitious Fox drama that may be heading to the showers.
THE SHOW | Fox’s Pitch (Season 1 aired Thursdays at 9/8c)
THE CASE FOR KEEPING | On paper, Pitch should have been a home run (or at least a stand-up triple). The cast is led by standout newcomer Kylie Bunbury, hirsute team captain Mark-Paul Gosselaar and a roster of fine supporting players. The premise of the MLB’s first female pitcher was noisy (though in a way that didn’t play well with the misogynist demo), and it was explored in ways that were more often deft than heavy-handed. For those who follow baseball, there was insidery fun to be had (especially when Mark Consuelos’ GM and Kevin Connolly’s stat-loving Padres president locked horns), while those seeking straight drama had sibling rivalry and more than a bit of romance to chew on.
Speaking of romance: Pitch was smart to have Ginny and Mike’s near-miss happen at the end of the first season: It’s either a good foundation for a future slow-burn (should the show go that route) or a needed-to-be-addressed point in the platonic relationship between two teammates. The marriage between Blip (Mo McRae) and Evelyn (Meagan Holder) meanwhile provides entertaining comic relief that the show would do well to mine deeper in a potential Season 2.
THE CASE FOR CUTTING | Creating an MLB club from scratch isn’t cheap, and Pitch‘s first, 10-episode trip to the plate didn’t quite offset the investment — averaging barely 3 million viewers and a 0.8 rating. That said, those numbers outpace fellow Fox dramas Sleepy Hollow (2 mil/0.5), Scream Queens (1.4 mil/0.6) and The Exorcist (1.9 mil/0.7), and are on par with Rosewood (3.2/0.7), while the New York-based, well-populated and effects-heavy Gotham (3.5 mil/1.1) carries a super price tag. (Empire, Lethal Weapon, Star and Lucifer, meanwhile, are already renewed.)