Amidst flagging ratings, ABC has trimmed the order for Sunday night drama Blood & Oil to ten episodes, down from the thirteen episodes they initially ordered when they picked up the series back in May.
Blood & Oil follows Billy and Cody Lefever, who dream of a new life beyond their working class roots and move to “The Bakken” in North Dakota, booming after the biggest oil discovery in American history. The ABC Signature produced drama stars Don Johnson, Chace Crawford, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Delroy Lindo, Amber Valetta, Scott Michael Foster and India De Beaufort.
Much like NBC’s The Player (which has also had its episode order cut down from its initial thirteen episode pick-up), Blood & Oil is occupying a particularly tough time-slot. In the Sunday 9pm berth, the series is up against not only Sunday Night Football but a number of high profile dramas including AMC’s ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead.
In this kind of a competitive environment, Blood & Oil has struggled to make much of a dent in the ratings. The series opened to an OK 6.4 million viewers and a 1.4 demo rating, but ratings continued to slide in subsequent weeks. Last week’s episode averaged a mere 3.5 million viewers/0.9 A18-49 rating; a series low. Critical reception and international sales have also been soft.
Reducing episode orders have become something of a rising trend this season, as networks have moved to trim the run of less-than-successful new series in lieu of cancelling them and yanking them off the schedule. Other series that have had their episode orders cut include Fox’s Minority Report (10 episodes) and NBC’s The Player (9 episodes). Despite this wave of mercy, these shows are not expected to return for second seasons.