Analysis: Could ‘The Secret Circle’ really be saved by MTV or ABC Family?

Here's a deeper look.

We have talked quite a bit this month about the future of “The Secret Circle” following its cancellation on The CW, and one of the themes that we have brought up is that while it is unlikely, there is a possibility that another network could come in at the last minute and try to save the show.

However, what we have not done yet is taken a look at some of the realistic hopes that the show has. The two biggest networks targeted by fans at the moments are ABC Family and MTV, and it begs the question — do the “Circle” numbers really compare well enough to make this a possibility?

ABC Family

Let’s start with the network that seems to be the “frontrunner” according to many fans. There is already a history here of working with Warner Bros. shows (see “The Lying Game”), so there’s some history here between the comings.

Really, it’s the ratings here that make this more of an issue than anything. If you compare the average ratings for new “Circle” episodes this spring (which is around 1.3 million with a 0.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic) to some of the networks other shows, there could be trouble:

-“Pretty Little Liars” is the #1 show, and it routinely posts 1.0 ratings along with more than 2.4 million viewers.

-“Switched at Birth” is more in the moderate range, and it scores 0.8 ratings along with 1.7 million viewers.

– “Melissa & Joey” was bringing in similar numbers to the ones listed above this past fall.

-However, “Jane By Design” and “Make It or Break It” — two of the network’s lowest-rated series, typically only pull numbers in the 0.4-0.5 range.

If the “Circle” could continue to pull in its average for the spring, it may do well enough here to stay alive. However, that’s a big gamble for a network to take since it does not have any supernatural shows to compare it to anymore; plus, they would have to guess about value without “The Vampire Diaries” as a lead-in.


For those of you hoping that MTV could somehow make a move here, the future is far more grim. The vast majority of their successful scripted programming — whether it be “Teen Wolf” or “Awkward” — pulls in around two million viewers along with 0.8 ratings in the demo. They also aren’t willing to take on that many scripted shows, especially when they have a full development slate already.

Also, you have to remember here that MTV likes to appeal to a rather expansive audience of young people — and for them, having two supernatural shows may be a little much.

We know that ABC Family has been the target of most fan petitions for the show already, but based on the data that does seem to be the best option. Could the “Circle” do well there with the right promotion? Sure, but at the moment we think the cable network will need some serious convincing to pull the trigger on a show that would currently be on the lower end of their ratings expectations, and has already been canceled somewhere else.

Things may look dark right now, but remember that anything can happen in the world of TV — after all, Amazon is considering picking up “Pan Am.”

Photo: The CW

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