There have been many programming decisions made this week that are surprising, but to fans of The Last Ship this news may be the most surprising of all. TNT has confirmed that season 4 of the long-running series starring Eric Dane will be back this fall, as opposed to this summer — as is typically the plan.
So what’s the reasoning for this? It’s a good question, but one without a clear answer. Per executive producer Steven Kane on Twitter, this is mostly a “programming decision” on the part of the network as opposed to anything that was asked for.
As for whether or not this is the right move, there are some advantages and disadvantages to it. The clear advantage is that there’s a little more time for anticipation, and in terms of ratings, the show won’t be up against the cable one-two punch of Game of Thrones over on HBO and Power over on Starz. However, the flip side of that is that in the fall, the show will be forced to square off against the formidable competition from NFL football (provided that it stays on Sunday nights), let alone everything else happening on the major networks.
Why would TNT want to risk a ratings hit? It may come in part down to their decision to spread their programming around the full year rather than just being a major ratings player for a few months. There may also be a greater cognizance that with more and more people watching programming after the fact, there is a little less of a reason for them to worry about live ratings so much as total ratings. As long as people are finding a way to see an advertisement or two, they can monetize the show (provided that people watch legally).
In the end, this news is a bummer given that The Last Ship is a program that we enjoy covering live on the site, and that may be more challenging in the fall than the summer; still, this is something worth reassessing when it is a little bit closer to the premiere date.
For now, feel free to share your thoughts on the surprising start time for The Last Ship season 4 in the comments below!
Meanwhile, head over here in the event you do want to get some further news when it comes to the show. (Photo: TNT.)
A network programming decision. But worth the wait! https://t.co/2EOUcUMOw6
— Steven Kane (@mrstevenkane) May 18, 2017