Last Resort

It’s a sad day for fans of two ambitious ABC dramas that came up short in the ratings this fall: Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue will soon end their runs.

ABC will finish airing the original 13-episode orders for both shows, but neither will receive a full-season pickup.

For 666, the writing has been on the wall for weeks. The Sunday-night supernatural drama starring Terry O’Quinn has been shedding its Revenge lead-in and been on a downward spiral since its debut.

For Last Resort, the news is somewhat surprising. Though its ratings matched the performance of 666, Shawn Ryan’s submarine thriller was one of the best-reviewed new fall shows and, until very recently, insiders were betting it would get a “back nine” order. But Last Resort struggled against very steep competition in its 8 p.m. slot and the show’s ratings ticked down a little further last night.

Oftentimes freshman series cancellations are met with a fair amount of online jeering (there wasn’t much disappointment over CBS’ Made In Jersey or NBC’s Animal Practice getting the axe). But these two are a bummer. Understandable, given the numbers, but a bummer. Both creatively tried to bring something new to broadcast primetime rather than rely on familiar drama formulas. Even if you’re not a fan of these shows, you can respect the effort behind them.

As with last year’s Pan Am, ABC is retaining its option to revive either show for next season. So if midseason shows like Red Widow and Zero Hour perform worse than these two and the network’s pilot season goes poorly, there’s a chance one or both could be resuscitated. It happened to CBS’ Unforgettable, which was cancelled last season and then later announced to return next summer. But the example of Pan Am is far more typical. (The Red Widow pilot is quite good but, then again, I also loved the pilot for Last Resort).

The news comes on the heels of CBS cancelling its freshman sitcom Partners (which veers more toward the “online-jeering” category). Two other ABC freshman shows have survived the winter cut: Country drama Nashville and wacky aliens sitcom The Neighbors previously received full-season orders.

Here’s how ABC’s freshman dramas stacked up in the ratings after you include DVR:

Nashville = 9.4 million viewers and a 3.2 in 18-49

Last Resort = 9.2 million and 2.4 in 18-49

666 Park Avenue = 6.7 million and 2.4 in 18-49

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