Update: ABC Studios “Cautiously Optimistic” About Possible Body Of Proof Renewal

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Update: Sources at ABC Studios (the production studio behind Body of Proof) now tell me that they are “cautiously optimistic” that the series will be renewed for a third season. In fact, while a renewal is still far from a slam dunk, I’m told that the series’ producers have already started having staffing meetings looking for new writers to join the series for next season. I’m also told that a decision on the future of Body of Proof could be reached as early as Wednesday.

Previous: ABC’s crime drama series Body of Proof is most definitely facing cancellation, but the series may not be quite ready for an autopsy. I’ve learned that executives at ABC have yet to decide on the fate of the Dana Delany fronted series and despite the less than stellar ratings for the series, Body of Proof may yet make a comeback. Sources tell me that at this stage it is too close to call as to whether the series will be cancelled or renewed, but Body of Proof has two things going for it: strong international sales (the series airs in Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany and a large number of other countries) and the nature of ABC’s drama pilots for next season. I’m told it is that second point that is likely to be the deciding factor.

ABC’s drama pilots for next season consist largely of soaps (Nashville, Devious Maids, Scruples, Americana and Penoza), action-drama’s (Last Resort, Untitled Roland Emmerich/Harold Kloser Project and Zero Hour), fantasy/genre projects (Beauty & The Beast, 666 Park Avenue and Gotham) and one period-drama (Gilded Lilys). The fact that there are no procedurals amongst the drama pilots vying for a pickup is expected to help Body of Proof as I’m told that ABC President Paul Lee wants to keep some variety on the network. The only question is whether he thinks he can adequately do that with a selection from the current roster of pilots and thereby say goodbye to the so so rated Body of Proof (across season two the series averaged 8.6 million total viewers and a 1.7 rating in the 18-49 demo in live+same day).

The latest buzz on the network’s drama pilots is that soaps Devious Maids, Americana and Nashville screened well and are heading towards series orders, while talk of Scruples and Penoza has cooled off. On the action-drama side I’m told Shawn Ryan’s Last Resort has been received well and is looking good for a pickup, talk of Untitled Roland Emmerich/Harold Kloser Project has cooled and I’m told that Zero Hour has fizzled. All three fantasy projects, Beauty & The Beast, 666 Park Avenue and Gotham, are still in contention and it’s unclear which (or how many) will make the cut. I’m also told that Gilded Lilys was received poorly by execs at ABC and as such talk has cooled off.

With buzz cooling off on Gilded Lilys, Scruples, Penoza and Zero Hour, will that lead Paul Lee into deciding to keep Body of Proof in order to keep some variety on the alphabet network? Only time will tell and I suspect we won’t get an answer until ABC’s upfront presentation in New York City on Tuesday May 15th.