ABC has made the first official cancellation of the season and pulled the plug on their period drama Wicked City after a mere three episodes, TVWise has learned. The series is being pulled from the schedule effective immediately, with reruns of Shark Tank now assuming the Tuesday night 10pm time-slot.
Wicked City is described as a character driven “true crime” procedural that explores sex, politics and popular culture across various noteworthy eras in Los Angeles history. The first season is set in the 1980s and will follow two LAPD detectives as they search for a Bonnie & Clyde-esque serial-killing team. The drama series is produced by ABC Studios and stars Ed Westwick, Taissa Farmiga, Jeremy Sisto, Gabriel Luna, Karolina Wydra, Evan Ross, Anne Winters, Jaime Ray Newman and Erika Christensen.
The writing had been on the wall for Wicked City. The series premiered to a mere 3.28 million viewers and a 0.9 demo rating and there was a precipitous drop in ratings over the next two weeks, with episode two drawing 2.42 million viewers/0.7 demo rating, and episode three dropping to 1.7 million viewers and a 0.4 rating. The fact that ABC had the series in the Tuesday night 10pm slot, which has not successfully launched a new series in many years, was a factor.
The networks have been unusually patient with struggling freshman series, opting to trim orders and minimise their losses rather than cancel them outright and yank them from the schedule. Such series that have had their orders trimmed in this manner include NBC’s The Player, ABC’s Blood & Oil and Fox’s Minority Report. ABC decided against trimming the order and keeping Wicked City on air due to the huge ratings dip, which is being viewed internally as a “wholesale rejection” of the show. Production on Wicked City will wrap at the conclusion of the eight episode, which is now being shot. It is not clear if or when the remaining 5 episodes will air.