After three seasons of increasingly bizarre animal-related mayhem, CBS has canceled its much-maligned scripted summer series Zoo. Based on the 2012 novel by James Patterson (who also served as an executive producer on the series), Zoo concerned a group of investigators traveling around the world to unravel the mystery of a series of sudden and violent animal attacks on humans.
Boasting an unusually high budget for a summer series, Zoo was able to deliver in terms of production values and action, but critics mostly agreed that the series’ writing didn’t exactly rise to the occasion. Still, many found themselves enjoying the show on a camp level and it developed a legitimate following at least until its storylines descended into utter absurdity, going far beyond the original premise of animals randomly and mysteriously attacking humans and becoming involved in ever-stranger science-fiction business.
As reported by TVLine, Zoo has officially been closed down by CBS after its three-season run on the network. Ratings for the series started out strong and were still decent throughout season 2 (which averaged 4.4 million viewers-per-episode), but things began going south in this year’s third (and final) season, with last month’s series finale pulling in a paltry 2.8 million viewers.
Much like its predecessor at CBS, the Stephen King series Under the Dome, Zoo began life with a fair amount of hype and enough of a pedigree (being based on a best-selling novel by a popular author) to draw people in and keep them interested up to a point. However, maintaining the action over the long-haul became a problem for Zoo much as it was for Under the Dome, and eventually the premise was stretched so far that even the most loyal fans could no longer justify sticking around. The lesson of Zoo and Under the Dome is that three seasons is probably all you can squeeze out of such relatively-big-budget, high-concept, niche-audience scripted summer drama endeavors.
Despite the demise of Zoo, CBS is not ready to give up on producing scripted summer series, having announced that they’ll be bringing back Alex Kurtzman’s thriller Salvation for another season. Ratings for Salvation were not great when it ran this summer, but the series has been picked up for streaming by Amazon, which makes its continued existence financially viable for the network.
Zoo was created by Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg and starred James Wolk, Kristen Connolly, Nonzo Azonie, Billy Burke, Alyssa Diaz, Josh Salatin and Nora Arnezeder. One or two folks out there may want to pour one out, ironically or not, for the now-defunct CBS series.
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