On Stana Katic’s Absentia, Ransom, and a Saturday-night debate

Stana Katic's AbsentiaWho is ready for another Absentia debate? Let’s kick this one off with a refresher: We know that the Stana Katic – Sony-produced series has a US home. However, this US home has not revealed themselves just yet. There’s no real timetable for this announcement, and it seems to be mostly at the network or streaming service’s discretion as to when they want to announce it. They are the ones that are mounting the promotional campaign for the show, so we’ll have faith in them knowing what they are doing. Obviously, they want the show to succeed if they were willing to require it.

One of the issues that we’ve long thought about when it comes to the series getting a broadcast-network home in America is simple: Finding the room in the schedule. Everyone has had their fall plans set now for months, and unless there is a cancellation somewhere, Absentia wouldn’t be able to slide in anywhere until midseason at the earliest … unless you’re talking about Saturday night. This is a risky night for television, but there is one network out there that has shown a willingness to roll the dice with it a little bit: CBS. Earlier this year, they aired a new series in Ransom on the night. The ratings weren’t great, but because it wasn’t produced internally, there was a hope that it would still find a way to get renewed. (Its renewal status is currently in limbo; even if it doesn’t return to CBS, maybe there’s a change that it will end up elsewhere.)

Could Absentia actually succeed in a Saturday timeslot? It’s risky business and not altogether preferred, but we do have confidence it would fare better than Ransom did on a network fittingly nicknamed The Eye. For one, this is a show with a big-name star in Katic, who most American viewers still remember from Castle. Also, this show does feel very much to be in the network’s wheelhouse of strong, compelling dramas. There’s been so much promotion for some time that it could succeed here, and depending on college football broadcasts, there could be weeks where it actually has a decent lead-in. It would build suspense throughout the season, and hopefully therefore more viewers.

On the flip side, the big disadvantage (beyond of course the night) is that some NCAA football programming could jerk the schedule around. Maybe CBS’ plans are augmented here and there because of the sport, or maybe Absentia loses viewers to college football on other networks. If it was to premiere this fall, it’s an obstacle that it would need to overcome.

Nonetheless, what makes this issue so interesting is that Absentia, even airing Saturdays on CBS, would actually probably get more viewers than it would airing on cable another night. Would it actually do well enough to get a season 2 renewal? That’s one of the points of uncertainty, but hopefully some of this uncertainty in general would end at some point in the near future.

Do you think Absentia on Saturdays could actually work…

…Provided that the network is CBS? Share below, and if you’ve missed our analysis here at CarterMatt of a recent behind-the-scenes video, you can check that out over here. (Photo: Sony.)

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