Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why NBC has to keep ‘Parenthood’

Anyone else think Tuesday’s season finale of ‘Parenthood’ felt more like a series finale?

Between Jasmine and Crosby getting their happily ever after wedding, to Adam deciding not to dump all over Crosby’s dream and sell the music studio, to Sarah getting proposed to, to Julia and Joel getting a foster/adoptive child – everything seemed to get tied up in a neat little bow.

While I’m thankful that the writers thought ahead and didn’t leave everyone in the lurch in case this actually was the series finale, I can’t help but hope that NBC sees fit to give the series at least one more season.

The good news first, ‘Parenthood’ got a boost in ratings numbers, hitting a 1.9 in adults 18-49 – up 12 percent over the previous week. This is the show’s best showing since November. Given the fact that lead in ‘The Biggest Loser’ keeps shedding viewers – dropping another 13 percent this week from last week – that’s actually pretty impressive.

The bad news? Those still aren’t great numbers.

What ‘Parenthood’ has going for it is quite simple. As the weakest of the big four networks, NBC doesn’t demand the same ratings numbers as other networks do. In actuality, they’re still recovering from the Jay Leno debacle. And, since ‘Parenthood’ has a stellar cast and decent pedigree, odds are that they’ll probably at least give serious consideration to renewing the show.

On the flip side, though, the amount of talent on ‘Parenthood’ – coupled with the fact that it’s a pretty large cast for an hourly – means that each episode is fairly expensive to produce. In other words, Peter Krause, Monica Potter, Lauren Graham, Erika Christensen, Dax Shepard and Craig T. Nelson aren’t cheap. That doesn’t include the rest of the cast – which is equally talented – although probably not as richly rewarded.

NBC is in a quandary. It doesn’t have a lot of quality on the network. Quite frankly, there’s not a lot of anything on the network. Longtime stalwart ‘The Biggest Loser’ is starting to falter and the always steady ‘Law and Order: SVU’ is starting to look old. When you add to that the fact that most of NBC’s comedies are struggling – well, that makes the fate of ‘Parenthood’ more hopeful.

That being said, the high concept ‘Awake’ is premiering Thursday and it’s starting to generate buzz. It’s not that I think ‘Awake’ and ‘Parenthood’ can’t co-exist, but I do think that if ‘Awake’ does well that the early season finale of ‘Parenthood’ could hurt next season’s outlook.

It’s all kind of confusing.

‘Parenthood’ has a small but loyal following – and that’s something NBC really can’t afford to lose. Of course, NBC has proven that their show development bigwigs aren’t exactly smart either. After all, they’re the ones that helped decimate the network after it was number one in the 1990s.

Essentially, now we enter a waiting game. No decision will be made either way until this spring.
At least, as fans, if we don’t get another season of ‘Parenthood’  Tuesday’s episode gave us a feeling of closure – even if it’s closure we don’t necessarily want.

Personally, though, I’m looking forward to Crosby and Jasmine struggling through the first year of marriage, Julia and Joel handling what I’m sure will turn out to be an emotionally damaged child, Zeke’s health crisis, the ramifications of Drew losing his virginity at the wedding and Sarah’s answer to the proposal (I’m betting it’s no since Jason Ritter has been cast on another pilot).

Either way, I’m thankful for the three seasons the Bravermans did give us. They were well worth the time invested.

What do you think? Will ‘Parenthood’ get a fourth season?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

First two seasons were amazing. This last season was atrocious.

March 1, 2012 at 10:50 AM 

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