Saturday, May 18, 2024

TV: ABC’s “Big Sky” Ratings Tank as Show Kills Off Its Second Main Character and Biggest Star, in Five Weeks


Far it be from me to understand TV shows, and how they operate. But ABC’s “Big Sky” is a big mess as far as I can tell.

Last night they killed off their villain, played by the great character actor John Carroll Lynch. He played very bad cop Rick Legarski, who himself killed off Cody Hoyt– played by heartthrob Ryan Phillippe– in the first episode. Cody was supposed to be the show’s hero. Lynch and Phillippe were the two biggest name actors on the show.

And now, after five episodes, the David E. Kelly series goes on hiatus.

If all this had worked with the audience, it would have been genius. But last night’s ratings were roughly 3.9 million, up from the previous week’s 3.5 million, but considerably down from the first three weeks. The opening episode, heavily promoted with Phillippe as the lead, brought in 4.1 million. With Phillippe being killed as the cliffhanger, the ratings went up in week 2 to 4.6. But then the audience caught on that Cody was gone. Week three fell back to 4.1 and dropped under 4 million after that.

There is no rooting interest in the rest of the characters. So what were the producers thinking?

Oh, if this show had just developed and maintained characters like the original “Twin Peaks,” which it clearly mimicked. But just like “Desperate Housewives” and “Empire” — shows that burned through plot without pacing– “Big Sky” is killing itself quickly. Too bad.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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