Shows in Trouble: Has 'Crossing Lines' Crossed the Point of No Return?

Yahoo Contributor Network

For any new series, a low-rated premiere can be the kiss of death. Case in point: NBC axed their low-rated medical drama "Do No Harm" after just two episodes. That's bad news for NBC's new series "Crossing Lines," which just had a disappointing debut.

"Crossing Lines" had its two-hour premiere on June 23, which pulled in a meager 4.4 million total viewers. A rerun of "Family Guy" on the same night performed better.

"Crossing Lines" is drama about a multinational team of crimefighters. Working under the banner of the International Criminal Court's special crimes unit, the team includes an American ex-cop, an Italian interrogator, a German tech genius, a French analyst, and a weapons specialist from Northern Ireland.

Given NBC's history of pulling low-rated shows off the schedule, "Crossing Lines" does appear to be in the network's crosshairs. However, the series may get a stay of execution simply because it's summer, and the network doesn't have much new programming to air.

During the 2012-2013 fall season, NBC tried its darndest to regain its former status as the top-rated network. A number of prominent flops like "Smash," "Go On," and "1600 Penn" contributed to the network's struggle in the ratings. Deemed "the fourth place network" in the press, NBC even occasionally fell to fifth place in the ratings behind the Spanish-language channel Univision, most notably during sweeps week.

Those recent show failures may be a good thing for "Crossing Lines," however. With so many failures this year, the bar has been set pretty low for renewals. If "Crossing Lines" can pick up a few more viewers, the show has a shot at renewal (despite its soft premiere).

That being said, "Crossing Lines" may have a hard time finding an audience in its Sunday night timeslot. As the summer goes on, "Crossing Lines" will face off against shows like "Ray Donovan" (which is likely to get a big lead-in from "Dexter").

The series is also in direct competition with Lifetime's frothy "Devious Maids." If it does manage to stay on the air until August, "Crossing Lines" will face off against a pile of AMC's Sunday night shows: the return of "Breaking Bad" and the new postmortem talk show "Talking Dead," as well as the new drama "Low Winter Sun."

However, it's worth noting that there has been some positive buzz about the show. Fizzology, a "business intelligence" organization that tracks TV mentions on social media, collected some interesting stats during the series premiere. With the figures below in mind, perhaps it's too early to declare this low-rated series DOA.

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