Mailbag: Low ratings on ABC sink ‘Assets’ after two episodes

By Rich Heldenfels
Beacon Journal popular culture writer

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Actress Harriet Walter poses for a portrait in promotion of her role in the upcoming ABC network series, "The Assets," in Jan. 2014 in New York. (Photo by Scott Gries/Invision/AP)

You have questions. I try to have answers.

Q: After all the hype and interviews for ABC’s “The Assets,” the series has gone missing. What happened?

A: The spy drama, a collaboration between ABC’s entertainment and news divisions, premiered to woeful ratings. And the numbers dropped in the second week. ABC then dropped the series in favor of Shark Tank reruns, which promptly drew more viewers. ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee has said the remaining six episodes of The Assets will be shown at some point, either on the air or online. At this writing, ABC.go.com has episodes online, but only the two that aired.

Q: I read in your column that “The Glades” hasn’t been renewed. How can they leave fans of the show hanging like that? Will they have one more episode to show if Jim lives and gets married, and who shot him? That’s a terrible way to end a series.

A: My mail over the years often includes notes from readers left hanging by abruptly canceled shows. (Some shows, like Breaking Bad, know well ahead of time when they are going to end, but we are talking here about shows that are simply told they’re done.) Whether they get an appropriate ending depends on how much notice they get, and whether their network or studio is willing to invest in a wrap-up.

Sometimes series get enough warning that they can come up with a finale; Last Resort was a relatively recent example of that. Other times shows sense that the end could be coming, and can craft episodes that will serve as an ending if they are done; Community did that more than once, and so did Army Wives, (Another show, One Tree Hill, deliberately built a huge cliffhanger into a season finale with the hope that fans would demand that it keep going.)

But there are still shows that have completed one set of episodes before learning there won’t be another. Deadwood was one example, ending before it planned, and leaving series mastermind David Milch to explain what could have come next in an extra on the DVD and Blu-ray collections.

As for The Glades, it is done, and I know of no plans to wrap up the stories. It recalls another series, Under Suspicion, that ended its first season with the main character, a detective named Phillips, being shot. Then the series was canceled. The show’s creator, Jacqueline Zambrano, said Phillips would have recovered if the series continued. But since the show was dead, so was Phillips. For The Glades, then, you should just imagine your own ending.

Q: I have a question about the David E. Kelley TV show “Snoops” that starred Gina Gershon and Paula Marshall. Is it available anywhere to watch online or in DVD format? I can’t find it anywhere. I was a regular background actor on the show and have been hoping to find it somewhere, specifically the unaired episodes that were filmed but never aired after the show was canceled.

A: For those of you tuning in late, Snoops was a private-eye show that aired in 1999 on Fox; besides Gershon and Marshall, it featured Shaker Heights native Paula Jai Parker. Audiences were not drawn to it. (Neither was I.) Ten episodes were aired before the network pulled the plug, leaving three unshown. Although Gershon in particular has avid fans, I have not found an authorized packaging of the show, either digitally or on disc.

Do you have a question or comment for the mailbag? Write to the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309 or rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com. Please mark the email or envelope with “mailbag.” Letters may be edited for publication. Please do not phone in questions. Individual replies cannot be guaranteed.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.


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