Now is a nerve-jangling time for actors and creators of television shows, one week before the biggest broadcast networks reveal their plans for next season. The wait is particularly intense for series like "Nashville" that are considered on the bubble between returning and having the plug pulled.
The decisions get more complicated every year. Broadcast executives have more than just ratings to consider, and "Nashville" offers a good example. A thumbs-down from
"I'm a combination of optimistic and emotionally vulnerable," Esten, who portrays
Under the old rules, "Nashville" would probably be toast by now. It was on the bubble last year, too, and in its second season averaged 4.5 million viewers, the
Fortunately, "next-day ratings don't really mean as much as they used to," said
Networks also look at how many people stream the show online, or record it to watch later on DVRs. This delayed viewing isn't as valuable to a network as people who watch live, but it counts for something, and "Nashville" adds to its audience more this way than most
That indicates a devoted group of fans that makes time to watch every episode. Even if that group is small, passion is important, he said.
"More than ever it's about finding fan bases that are more than casual, who are obsessed with a show," he said.
The closely watched TV by the Numbers website lists it as a show in some doubt, but predicted it has more than a 70 percent chance of returning to
Perhaps tempting fate, or subtly encouraging
Each week after an episode airs, new songs are made available for sale.
"The music has been a great way to gauge what is going on with the viewing habits and purchasing habits," he said.
The concert tour wasn't specifically scheduled to take place at the time network executives are making decisions on the show's future; it was because shooting of episodes was over and the actors had the time, he said. But the timing doesn't hurt.
"If the series gets canceled tomorrow, the actors are going to scatter like mice and you won't have this opportunity," he said.
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