Fox’s fall follies continued Monday with the quick dismissal of new Friday dramas “Harsh Realm” and “Ryan Caulfield: Year One.”
The second outing of “Ryan Caulfield” and third appearance of “Harsh Realm” last week equaled Fox’s lowest-ever Friday-night ratings, averaging a 2.3 Nielsen household rating and 4 share for the night.
The death of executive producer Chris Carter’s “Harsh Realm” comes weeks before Carter’s flagship series “The X-Files” even airs its season premiere.
Fox “botched” the launch of “Harsh Realm,” a disappointed Carter told Daily Variety. “I think in the end it looks rather misguided to have premiered the show without any promotional base, certainly when the reviews of it were good,” he said. “I have a feeling we’re a victim of a much bigger problem at Fox.”
Carter said Fox executives told him they realized they underpromoted “Harsh Realm,” and planned to heavily promote the show for the next seven weeks. “The viewer-awareness levels were pathetically low,” Carter said.
Carter also said he believed that Fox Entertainment president Doug Herzog was never a fan of “Harsh Realm.”
“When I first met Doug I realized he wasn’t a fan of `The X-Files,’ which made me paranoid that he didn’t know what we did over here,” he said.
And when lead-in “Ryan Caulfield” debuted to numbers much lower than expected, it effectively killed “Harsh Realm,” Carter said, adding, “They have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.”
Fox sources said production has halted on both series, although Carter said shooting would continue at least the rest of Monday on “Harsh Realm.” “No one told us to shut down,” he said.
Eight episodes of “Harsh Realm” had already been shot. And with its meager ratings, sources said it’s unlikely that “Harsh Realm” would end up at another network.
Meanwhile, ABC Monday confirmed that the low-rated Thursday-night drama “Wasteland” will be yanked for the duration of the November sweeps, effective immediately. The specials “The Best Commercials You’ve Never Seen” and “Totally Out of Control Vehicles” will air the next two Thursdays. For the second two Thursdays of sweeps, ABC will air an hourlong “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., followed by a repeat of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” ABC had already scheduled “Forrest Gump” for Thanksgiving.
“Because we feel the show never truly got sampled and we believe in the talents of Kevin Williamson and our cast, we plan on relaunching the series again in December,” the network said in a statement.