The show seemed reasonably entertaining and had its audience yet it did not work out. Was it mostly due to costly production or lack of audience?
Terra Nova (Fox: 10.1 million, 3.6): Some in the industry feel Fox made a mistake not picking up this ambitious drama for a second season. I agree. Terra Nova managed the rare feat of delivering a sizable family audience to a broadcast drama, found its legs creatively in its final hours and there was nothing else like it on TV. Cost was a factor, but so was the network’s belief that midseason addition Touch would be the network’s next big hit (it wasn’t)...more
Cost Might Be one the Reasons.
It was just too expensive for the relatively small number of viewers and networks are very sensitive to that sort of thing:
Terra Nova, which stars British actress Shelley Conn and Avatar star Stephen Lang, struggled to pull in ratings that justified its massive budget.
It averaged an audience of around 7.5 million for each episode in America – which works out at a cost of almost £1 per viewer each week.
Plus, it didn't have enough network support behind it as it struggled for renewal..
Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly was non-committal when asked about the future of the series. “If this is all we make (of Terra Nova), we made money on it, the studio made money on it, and it seems to have resonated with the family audience,” he said. “There is a show, which if we are to bring back, there’s an audience there. But creatively, the show was hunting (for its identity). If we had more holes in our network, we’d be thrilled to lock that right in.”
It is interesting that from what I hear, it was Reilly who made the call to cancel Terra Nova, while it was his boss, Peter Rice, who championed and bought the project exactly two years ago.
The series two-hour season finale drew a 2.2/6 in adults 18-49 and 7.2 million viewers, in line with the show’s season average, which wasn’t big enough to seal a renewal but not too small to warrant an automatic cancellation.
20th TV and the Terra Nova producers proactively began approaching potential showrunner and senior producer level writers about joining the series for next season in order to elevate the writing on the show. The network was pitched several potential new executive producers as well as Season 2 ideas. Reilly, who I hear was never a big fan of Terra Nova, didn’t spark to any of the plans. The studio’s last-ditch effort was on Friday, when another prospective showrunner was taken to the network to meet with Reilly. Despite the meeting reportedly going well, Reilly today decided to pull the plug. While not unexpected, the cancellation of a series that hails from such big auspices and is a moneymaker for Fox’s sister studio, was a surprise.