Wesley Snipes’ return to television is being cut short. NBC has cut the episode order for their Thursday night drama The Player to nine episodes, TVWise has learned. Production on the series will shut down once episode nine, which is currently being shot, is completed.
From John Rogers and Sony Pictures Television, The Player tells the story of a former military operative turned security expert who is drawn into a high-stakes game where an organization of wealthy individuals gamble on his ability to stop some of the biggest crimes imaginable from playing out. The cast includes Philip Winchester (Strike Back), Wesley Snipes (Blade), Charity Wakefield (Wolf Hall) and Damon Gupton (Empire).
It’s been rough going for The Player. Despite the fact that NBC execs were high on the drama ahead of the upfronts, it got an only OK push on the marketing front and was given a tough time-slot on Thursday nights where it was up against NFL. With that stiff competition, it was only able to manage 4.7 million viewers/1.2 A18-49, with ratings continuing to drop over the next few weeks. That said, there was an uptick in the most recent episode (4.15 million viewers/0.8) and The Player has been a decent DVR gainer, but that was not enough to save the show.
The Player is the second new drama series this season to have it’s episode order cut in lieu of a straight cancellation. Fox previously did the same thing with struggling freshman drama Minority Report, which had its order trimmed from thirteen episodes down to ten. This is only the second fall series that NBC has made a decision on, after previously handing out a back-nine/full-season order to Blindspot.
This is far from from good news for series producer Sony Pictures Television, who had been doing a lot of international business on The Player. It was by far the hottest title the studio was distributing at the LA Screenings and, as TVWise previously reported, SPT has already sold The Player to more than 105 international territories, though the trimmed order is making a UK deal less likely now.