The decision on whether or not to renew "Terra Nova" is no longer up to the big-budget dinosaur epic to perform. It now all depends on Fox's mid-season schedule to not perform.
During Sunday's Television Critics Association winter press tour, Fox president Kevin Reilly said that "Terra Nova" was a strong family show for the network, but it is expensive to make, and the show didn't necessarily meet audience expectations.
Yet, the fact that the show has not been cancelled yet is a good sign. Only as long as Fox has little luck in the shows it plans to premiere mid-season. That might mean genre fans who love "Terra Nova" may have to bet against new shows, like J.J. Abrams' upcoming "Alcatraz," to ensure there will be more prehistoric times in the network's future.
"I do feel fortunate that we have some high-class problems," Reilly said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "Terra Nova," he added, "was an exciting bet to take, and it's proven that it was worthwhile."
In its abbreviated run, "Terra Nova" earned a 4.7 rating/7 share average, according to Fast National overnight ratings from The Nielsen Co. It was Fox's third-highest rated show (tied with "New Girl" and "Glee") in the first half of the season, and was behind only "The X Factor" and "Bones."
Yet, it's expected to finish outside the top 40 by the time the season ends, which might make it difficult to justify a show that is one of the most expensive on television. But, if there are fewer shows returning in the fall for other reasons, especially if new mid-season shows fail to perform, then Fox may look to return shows like "Terra Nova," that at the very least, have been generating a tremendous about of buzz.
"The bar was set enormously high," Reilly said, adding that the show still made money, despite its lower ratings.
"If we had more holes, we'd be thrilled to lock it in," he said.
But the clock is ticking. "It needs to get back into production next month. We won't be able to drag our feet on it for too long."
"Terra Nova" was created by Craig Silverstein and Kelly Marcel, and is executive produced by Steven Spielberg. It chronicles a society from the future settling in prehistoric times after watching Earth become nearly inhabitable in their own time period.
It stars Jason O'Mara, Shelley Conn and Stephen Lang, while the showrunner is a Star Trek alum, Brannon Braga.
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