Shows in Trouble: Who Will Kill 'Whodunnit?'

Yahoo Contributor Network

"Whodunnit?" is a reality-competition series on ABC. Modeled on classic murder mysteries, contestants are tasked with solving the murder at Rue Manor. Contestants who perform poorly are "killed," with the contestant who unmasks the killer ultimately winning $250,000. But despite a killer premise, many fans are wishing that the network would kill this new series.

"Whodunnit?" currently has a Metacritic score of 43 out of 100, which means the show has received generally negative reviews. Metacritic notes that Allison Keene of The Hollywood Reporter found the show "either painful or unintentionally funny."

Given the somewhat chilly reception the series has gotten to date, it seems likely that "Whodunnit?" is going to get axed. But who is to blame for the death of this promising series?

The producers

It seems easy to put the blame on the show's producers. After all, they are responsible for the mysteries, atmosphere, and execution of concept. And yet, the producers seem to have pulled their own weight on "Whodunnit?".

Most notably, "Whodunnit?" producer (and "CSI" creator) Anthony E. Zuiker was able to bring props from the "CSI" franchise to use on the troubled reality competition. Zuiker's promotion of the show helped to lend legitimacy to "Whodunnit?", though it is somewhat telling that Zuiker's Twitter profile doesn't mention "Whodunnit?" at all, simply identifying Zuiker as "Creator of the CSI: Franchise, Level 26 and Cybergeddon."

The cast

A reality TV show is only as good as its cast, and many of the cast members on "Whodunnit?" seem well-suited to the show. In particular, ex-homicide detective Don Tabak and bounty hunter Ronnie Padron seem like frontrunners for solving the mystery. However, other contestants come off as grating to the viewers at home, particularly Adrianna. Also, Giles the butler comes off as hokey.

The competition

"Whodunnit?" faces off against some tough competition on Sunday nights. Some mystery fans would prefer to tune in to PBS, where "Masterpiece Mystery" airs against the third episode of "Whodunnit?". Other mystery fans are likely to choose AMC's "The Killing." And even though "Under the Dome" is a repeat on Sunday nights, CBS is pulling in respectable numbers with their Stephen King effort.

The fans

Ultimately, a show's chances of renewal fall is in the hands of the fans. Or more precisely, their eyeballs. Sadly, "Whodunnit?" just isn't drawing in the eyeballs it needs to get renewed. After premiering with just over 4 million viewers, the show's second episode dropped off by 23 percent.

In the end, like Agatha Christie's famous "Murder on the Orient Express," there is more than one killing blow that will bury this freshman series.

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