NBC Cuts 'Chase' Short, Trims Season To 18 Episodes

NBC "Chase"

After disappointing ratings for its freshmen year, NBC has declined the final four episodes of Chase, the U.S. Marshal cop drama. The drop from 22 episodes is still considered a full season, but the longevity of the series is definitely up in the air.

Chase follows Marshal Annie Frost, played by Kelli Giddish (All My Children). The promos for the series focus on the character's tenacity as she hunts fugitives across Texas. Her partner Luke Watson is played by Jesse Metcalfe, a fellow soap veteran and headliner for 2006's John Tucker Must Die. The show is executive produced by Hollywood big fish Jerry Bruckheimer. Jennifer Johnson, who previously pulled production and writing duties on Cold Case and Lost, is also exec producing and has written several Chase episodes so far.

Beginning next year, Chase will move from Mondays to Wednesdays to make room for new shows The Cape and Harry's Law. The move is understandable (the network is betting on The Cape and The Event to fill the sci-fi void left by former blockbusters like Heroes) but may prove fatal. A Wednesday slot puts the series in direct competition with mainstream juggernaut American Idol on Fox, which still dominates consistently even after declining viewership in the last few seasons. This could be the last straw for the fledgling series, whose last episode pulled in only 6.5 million viewers - decidedly lackluster for network TV.

If audiences are unimpressed with yet another police procedural, who could blame them. The lineups of all four networks and almost every cable channel are overloaded with cop shows, with no end in sight for the next few years. Crime dramas are as popular as ever, but with dozens of shows competing for eyeballs, newcomers have to make an initial splash or drown.

Cast of NBC's "Chase"

The long-running Law & Order: SVU will run right after Chase, which might help it land a few lead-in viewers. But with no big names or compelling hooks to carry the show, writers and producers will have dazzle if they hope to survive to a second season.

After tonight's episode, Chase returns January 12th at 9 p.m. on NBC.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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