Of the network’s summer scripted fare, only ‘Zoo’ remains.
CBS is abandoning ship on two of its three summer scripted originals.
The network has canceled dramas BrainDead and American Gothic after one season each, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Of the network’s three summer 2016 dramas, only the previously renewed Zoo will return.
BrainDead marked the first post-The Good Wife series for showrunners Robert and Michelle King. The Washington, D.C.-set political horror satire was averaging a dismal 0.4 among adults 18-49 — with seven days of DVR. The drama, produced in-house at CBS Television Studios, where the Kings are under a rich overall deal, starred Elizabeth Winstead, Danny Pino, Tony Shalhoub and Aaron Tveit and was picked up straight to series as part of CBS’ summer model. After launching with a massive marketing push, the series debuted to just under 5 million live-same-day viewers in June before finishing its run in September with half the viewership.
The move comes after CBS All Access recently announced that the Kings will serve as showrunners on the Good Wife spinoff after the duo initially wanted to take a backseat on the digital platform’s follow-up drama. The decision to cancel BrainDead was further complicated by CBS’ SVOD deal with Amazon, which has rights to one summer scripted entry per year through 2018.
CBS president Glenn Geller, talking with THR this summer, was the first to acknowledge that critical bombs BrainDead and American Gothic hadn’t delivered what he anticipated. The returns on both series paled in comparison to CBS’ Under the Dome, which opened the door for pricey scripted originals to air in the typically low-rated summer months. Geller remains committed to scripted in the summer, but also is looking to broaden the field with game shows similar to ABC’s retro lineup that helped the Disney-owned network improve its summer fortunes this year.
FX’s Fargo continues to draw star power.
BrainDead and 10 Cloverfield Lane star Mary Elizabeth Winstead has joined the cast of the Noah Hawley anthology, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The Fargo casting is in second position to CBS’ summer drama BrainDead, meaning if the latter scores a second season and Fargo interferes with the production schedule, Winstead will do only BrainDead.
Season three of Fargo has been rumored to take place in 2010, following the events of the breakout drama’s freshman season. It’s unclear how or if it will tie into the events from the first run, though none of the stars from season one will return. Winstead will play Nikki Swango, a crafty and alluring recent parolee with a passion for competitive bridge playing. She is a woman with a plan who is focused on always being at least one move ahead of her opponents.
Ewan McGregor will topline season three and play the dual roles of brothers Emmit and Ray Stussy in what will be his first TV series regular role. The Leftovers‘ Carrie Coon is set as Gloria Burgle, a practical woman who is the chief of police in Edna Valley and a newly divorced mother. She struggles to understand this new world around her, where people connect more intimately with their phones than those directly in front of them.
Production on the third installment of Fargo is set to begin later this year for a 2017 debut on FX.
Winstead is repped by WME. Her other credits include Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Returned and Mercy Street.