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HUNTED - BBC PULLS OUT - WILL CINEMAX GO IT ALONE?

HUNTED - BBC PULLS OUT - WILL CINEMAX GO IT ALONE?

Hunted, the struggling BBC1 Melissa George spy drama, is on major life support, with confirmation of no second series involvement by the BBC.  The drama, which aimed to be a replacement for Spooks, has seen its average audience fall by nearly half over six episodes, with a plot that left many viewers, including BBC executives, confused. However American co-producer HBO Cinemax may continue production on its own, being happy with the performance Stateside.

 

BBC sources directly involved with commissioning the eight-part series from Kudos, the producer of Spooks, confirmed next week's eighth episode will be the last. "It hasn't found the mainstream audience it was hoped," said a BBC spokesperson.

 

The show's average overnight ratings have dropped from a debut of 4.5 million and a 19.3% share in early October, to 2.6 million and an 11% share for the sixth episode, down 16% week on week - the latest epsiode had huge opposition on other channels, with DCI Banks on ITV1 (its season finale with 3.7 million viewers - a 16% share), and the network premiere of The Inbetweeners Movie on Channel 4 (2.8 million viewers - a 14% share). This on top of new episodes of Red Dwarf on Dave pulling in a regular 1 million viewers. Even Channel 5 contributed to the log-jam, with their mini-series Hatfields & McCoys - even though it was down slightly week-to-week with 0.9 million viewers and a 4% share.

 

And the final straw came last week when Hunted was almost beaten by BBC2's Michael Portillo series Great Continental Railway Journeys, which averaged 2.5 million.

 

Hunted, set in Morocco, London and Scotland, was made in a collaboration with HBO Cinemax. The writer and creator is Frank Spotnitz, who wrote and produced The X Files.

 

The swift action leaves Cinemax, the American co-partner and producer in a quandary. That said, there may still be some life left in the series. Over at tvwise.co.uk reporter Patrick Munn comments: "One of my sources is telling me that despite the decision from the BBC to cancel the series, Cinemax may still decide to pick up a second season by themselves. “Cinemax are very happy with the series, whether or not it continues will be based on whether they are prepared to assume to financial costs.” Representatives of Cinemax did not immediately respond to our requests for comment."

 

Should this be the case, then the likelihood is that the second season will not be seen on the BBC, and will be picked up instead by another UK broadcaster.

 

The story revolves around a female spy, Sam, played by Melissa George, who works for a privately owned security company, called Byzantium, rather than the government's MI5 or MI6.

 

It opened with her being hunted down and nearly killed in Tangier, forcing her to ascertain which of her colleagues betrayed her.

 

BBC executives are sanguine about the decision, pointing out that not all new dramas work out, and that there have been plenty of successes on both BBC1 and BBC2 to compensate.

 

Kudos, part of News Corporation-owned Shine, also makes The Hour, which returns for a second series on BBC2 and BBC HD on Wednesday 14 November 2012, after critical acclaim and healthy audiences for its first run on BBC2 last year.

 

The company also made last year's underperforming BBC1 sci-fi drama Outcasts, which was dumped from its 9pm peaktime slot in February after only three out of eight episodes and switched to 10.25pm on Sunday nights.

 

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/nov/14/bbc1-hunted-laid-to-rest?CMP=twt_gu

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