Ratings-starved NBC has once again taken to shifting around its line-up, but this time the program jumble is intended to make room for the highly anticipated new drama Awake, and shuffle the little-watched continuation of The Firm to Saturday nights.
After hitting disastrously low ratings, NBC yanked the underperforming Josh Lucas series and placed it in the television equivalent of time-out – where it will likely finish the remainder of its first season. Audiences will have to wait until March 1 for Awake to officially replace The Firm, however, so in the meantime they will have to make-do with reruns of the freshman fantasy procedural Grimm.
Now cleared for active duty, Awake becomes one of the few programs on NBC's docket to not only boast an intriguing concept – a man wakes from a car crash to find himself split between two separate realities – but also features a fan-favorite leading man and all star creative team. The series stars Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter) and comes from the mind of writer Kyle Killen, who recently penned the critically adored, but quickly canceled FOX series Lone Star and the Jodie Foster directed drama The Beaver, featuring Mel Gibson. Moreover, Awake is executive produced by Howard Gordon, who recently brought the multiple Golden Globe winner Homeland to Showtime, so expect that angle to be featured heavily in the upcoming promotion for the series.
This announcement comes as the final step in a very long road for Awake. First announced nearly a year ago under the title REM, the mind-bending drama made little noise until producers put a temporary halt to production in late October. Naturally, such a move caused concern that the series would fail to see the light of day, but it turns out Gordon simply wanted additional time to refine the somewhat complicated scripts, and to give a more cohesive arc to the overall storyline. Since, Awake had yet to be given a spot on NBC's ever-changing schedule, the break turned out to be something of a blessing for Killen, Gordon and the rest of the show's writers.
After that, news surrounding Awake once again became scarce, until a little over a week ago when it was announced that Alias alum Kevin Weisman had been brought onboard to play the part of the mysterious and possibly menacing Mr. Blonde – one of the few characters who appears to Det. Britten (Isaacs) in both realities. Given the timing of Weisman's casting and the now imminent premiere date, it sounds as though Mr. Blonde may have been a product of the production hiatus, and an attempt to provide a more concrete antagonist for what Gordon has described as a "creatively challenging show."
Challenging or not, it seems NBC is confident enough in Awake that it has been given the timeslot formerly held by Prime Suspect and The Firm, two high-profile series that failed to drum up the audience the last place network was looking for.
Take a look at the series below:
Awake premieres Thursday, March 1 @10pm on NBC.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter