'FlashForward' loses showrunner/co-creator: Report

More bad news for the ratings-challenged FlashForward: Variety reports that showrunner/co-creator David Goyer is leaving the ABC series to focus on his film career. Goyer, who often boasted of having outlined the high-concept drama for the next several seasons, will remain as an executive producer. It’s unclear who will replace Goyer, who was the second showrunner to serve on the series (after Mark Guggenheim) that stars Joseph Fiennes and John Cho.

The freshman show will likely have a tough time attracting new viewers when it returns with originals on March 18. Despite lots of early fanfare, FlashForward’s audience dropped from 12.5 million to 7.07 million in just three months. Not coincidentally, ABC has had an equally tough time launching its other high-concept show, V –  which lost 35% of its audience (14.3 million to 9.3 million) over just four airings last fall. It will return March 30.

The difficulty of programming such sci-fi dramas surely played a role in NBC’s decision to downgrade Day One – an apocalyptic drama from Heroes scribe Jesse Alexander — to a two-hour backdoor pilot that may (or may not) air sometime this season.

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  • Nerwen Aldarion

    I think ABC really screwed up V, why would you air four episodes in November and then wait to air the rest until March?????

    It just doesn’t make ANY sense!

    Oh well, with Flash Forward going down and V probably joining at least that means Castle will be back next year

    • Rowan

      Because it was supposed to be a 4-part miniseries, then they changed their minds to make it a regular series.

      • Sarah C

        I think it would have been more successful as a miniseries. Why does everything have to be a full-fledged series?

      • JD

        I agree Sarah. ABC should have followed the successful way that the original 1980’s version aired – a series of mini-series, each one 4 to 8 hours each season. It would be like a successful movie series in which a new sequel comes out every year or two.

      • Eric

        Because mini series don’t make any money. The real money is in syndication. 4 episodes does not lead to syndication. Granted, getting canceled after the first season doesn’t usually help either, but maybe Syfy will pick up the reruns.

    • frelling_cute

      It makes plenty of sense about V. They had to go back and refilm things because they were not happy with the direction the show was taking even then. The show is in trouble.

  • Dan

    “high concept drama” really? How about V sucked. It belonged on the Syfy channel, and even then, the old scifi gave us some good shows.
    FlashForward: I watch it, but the acting and duex ex machina bs is horrible. People are acting in ways simply to fulfill the needs of the plot, not because they would actually do those things. Stupid. Very close to losing me as a viewer. And i am a GEEK and a half.

  • George

    this is probably the show from the blind item

    • whatevs

      Most hints match, but Ausiello did say that it was supposed to be a hit show…

      • George

        good point

    • Jo

      Still think this is what he was talking about. 1st season it WAS a hit.

  • M Weyer

    Damn, a shame. ABC blew it pushing the show back from January to March, ruins interest in it.

  • Lauren

    I hate that the bad writing of Flashforward is going to make studios think audiences don’t want high concept shows. It’s not that Flashforward is complicated or smart, it’s that at times it feels a little like waiting for that last coat of paint to dry so you can hang something awesome on that wall.

    • m.

      Same thing about V. Great idea, poor writing. Although none of them matches Heroes. I was so big fan of the show, but the writers managed to totally screw it up, although they had very talented cast and a great idea.
      I like that ABC takes risks and doesn’t want to create another csi-ncis like procedural show.

    • Patrick

      Just because the ipod generation have an attention of basically zero does not mean that FlashForward’s writing is “bad” because it’s “complicated” or “smart.” FlashForward is one of the best new shows on TV but the ipod generation will never know that.

      • RA

        Yeah, sorry man, but the “iPod generation” loves smart shows. The fact that you think FlashForward is one of those shows proves you don’t know what you are talking about.

      • dru

        Sorry, Patrick. I’m too old to be the “ipod generation” and Flashforword’s writing is just bad. It’s not smart or complicated. It’s lazy, hole-riddled and ridiculous. It’s what a Trek viewer would come to expect from a show exec. produced by Brannon Braga. Courtney B. Vance deserves to be on a better show.

      • GleeFan

        Actually, it just isn’t all that good a show. Nowhere near as great as it thinks it is, in fact.

        Sorry, but it has nothing to do with attention spans.

  • wino

    and people were worried about Lost’s 12+ mil viewers? this day and age, your lucky to avg over 10 mil. yes, the issue is the uneven writting and both shows forcing ohh factor too soon down our throats…but we also need new ways to measure ratings before deeming a show a failure. give these shows a chance to flourish and then maybe producers, writers wouldnt feel such pressure to succeed off the bat

  • Cara

    I guess I’m unusual here in that I really like FlashForward! I mean, it’s no Lost, but I find it really fun, with some really interesting actors.

    • erika

      I like it too. It sucks that they move and push everything around. If ABC actually learns how to do its job right, maybe then their shows won’t get such crap ratings (better off ted, anyone????)

    • Jason T

      Call us unusual then, I LOVE it but the downward spiral of the ratings and the shows long hiatus have me in a “why bother” kind of mood. My fandom has become the death kiss for shows.

      • Paul

        LOL. Your fandom may be the kiss of death but at least it has good taste.

    • Lee

      Before FlashForward went off the air, I thought it was getting better. I liked how they were developing Bryce’s character. To me, he seemed like one of the most interesting persons on the show.

      • nancy

        yes,it was getting better. I don’t understand these long intervals between shows. It was just getting good. And it’s a way better show than most of the dearth out there.

      • PJ

        Except that the character is in stage four cancer and is working every day looking totally healthy. Just another example of the piss poor writing.

  • bcheeone

    Hey, I like Flash Forward! It beats watching “reality tv” or another “spin off” of another show.

  • Jason

    FF just tried WAY too hard to be Lost. It was all in your face about being mysterious and complex from the get go.It felt forced. Lost wasn’t. The mysteries on Lost started slowly and snowballed to the awesomeness it is now.

    • Sue

      I agree. We cared about the characters in Lost from the beginning because they had to work together to survive. You just don’t feel that with FlashForward. I don’t think losing this creator dude is going to be a loss. Maybe it will help.

      • Paul

        I disagree. Right before the show went off the air, Bryce’s character was becoming interesting. Just as much as Locke. Both felt defeated in life but then something happened and they felt reinvigorated. I just think the ipod generation has to give a show like FlashForward a chance. Seinfeld had terrible ratings its first couple seasons.

      • Adam M

        Will people on here stop referring to “the ipod generation”!!! The fact that I enjoy having a portable device for all of my music doesn’t mean I can’t recognize a show being the total crap that it is. Also… someone on here said that Bryce was as interesting of a character as Locke from Lost???!!!! I just threw up in my mouth after reading that. Rewatch the ep ‘Walkabout’ from season 1, loser!

    • Desmo42

      I don’t necessarily disagree with your premise, but the whole part about Losts mysteries starting slowly is a bit of a stretch, In the first episode we had a mysterious monster out in the woods that killed the pilot, polar bears on a tropic island, and a french woman who’s distress message has been playing on a loop for 16 years. Not exactly a slow start to mysteries.

      • Paul

        Not only that. I thought Lost messed up with its second season. I mean, what was really the point of havng the “others”? They basically added nothing to the show. And then the hatch. If viewers think FlashForward is like watching paint dry, well, what about the whole hatch sequence? Don’t tell me that was a ratings booster.

      • Lisa Simpson

        Paul, have you watched “Lost” lately? The Others are integral to the show.

    • Jason T

      I like the show, as I said up there somewhere. But you have a point, they did force it and I don’t really care about the characters, I don’t care if Joseph Feinnes (been so long I dont remember character names) marriage falls apart or if John Cho’s character dies. I barely know them. Heres the thing though, with so much competition out there you have to be a big damn hit immediately and keep that up. Couldn’t they have introduced us to the cast, brought us in and tried to make us care through flashbacks during the blackout? Stretched the blackout over a couple of episodes, show that there were signs. Instead of open the show with BOOM and then watch these strangers try to pick up the pieces.

      • Jeff

        It’s hard to feel bad for FBI or CIA agents.

    • Gillian

      I liked FF, but you have a point. They should have spent more time getting us invested in the characters before bringing out the heavy mythology. Oh well. ABC is not known for giving shows a chance to find their footing creatively or ratings-wise. So I don’t have much hope for this show.

      • Paul

        I unfortunately agree with you. Look at what happened to Pushing Daisies.

  • David

    I love sci-fi shows, but the problem isn’t that sci-fi shows are more difficult to do. The problem is that they aren’t any easier to do. Lots of these idiot producers come up with a great concept and neglect to support it with good plot and good writing. Flash Forward had a great premise, and V at least had a serviceable one, but the writing for both shows has been just plain boring. I’d put Heroes in the same boat except that its writing got just plain stupid. There have been lots of sci-fi shows with far weaker premises than Flash Forward that were successful because they had good producers to provide direction and good writers to provide interesting content.

    • Jason T

      I agree, Flash Forward does have a fantastic premise but it has been botched a bit.

      Poor character development, and the whole developing back story behind the cause of it has felt forced.

      I think Sci-Fi is harder to do in this TV marketplace. TV is a business and the networks goal is to put out a show, make money off of it, its properties, and ultimately syndication. Sci Fi shows are more expensive thus the demand for a higher rating then say a sitcom. That need for high ratings at the outset robs a show of the ability to grow its story organically, and without that most sci fi suffers mightily because your already trying to get an audience to suspend belief and you need to ease them into that world not jam it down there throats.

      A show like Heroes cant live with its ratings usually but NBC is likely losing money on it for the sake of boosting its syndication numbers, afterall nothing re-runs longer then sci-fi.

  • Colt

    Here’s hoping ABC used the constructive criticism from viewers and wrote a much quicker plot for the remaining episodes.

  • Jen

    The multi-month hiatuses (hiatii?) really mess w/my dedication to a show. Unless I am truly in love with it, I have a hard time mustering up the desire to follow it when it comes back. Victims of this so far have been Vampire Diaries and the upcoming return of V. I will stick around for FlashForward and Glee, because I truly love those shows. But for shows that I’m on the fence about (like V) or just watch when nothing else is on (Gossip Girl), I won’t make a point of returning, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels the same.

    • Jen

      That being said, changes in showrunners/creators/etc don’t faze me at all unless they start to vastly redesign a show. It’s like when my favorite diner changes management: unless they so completely f up the menu or take away my 24-hr free WiFi that it becomes a place I barely recognize anymore, I have no complaints. Change the decor! Hire new people! Just keep the foundations intact. But I still think the best thing showrunners (whoever they are) could do would be to reanalyze this mini-season set-up and reduce the lengths of a show’s hiatus.

      • Paul

        I agree. I don’t think J.J. Abrams had much to do with Lost after a while because he was too busy making movies like Star Trek. A show can get better without its co-creator. After season 2, Lost definitely did.

  • Matt

    ABC are desperately trying to create the next Lost and failing. Lost worked because initially it didn’t feel like a high concept show, it was jut about some strangers who crashed on the island. After about a year it organically (for the most part at least) turned into an extremely high concept show. V and FF started out like that, and some audiences find that tough. And, and they both suck which doesn’t help.

  • Carol

    Listen up ABC, Flashforward is a good show, spice it up stop dragging the show. Love the crew. V , did you not see the first one. Maybe you should watch it.

  • Matt2

    You can have a slick ad campaign and a great pilot episode and win over viewers. But, if the subsequent episodes don’t match or exceed the expectations etablished by the premiere, viewers will flock in a hurry. People watch their favorite shows weekly to be engaged in them and to be entertained. FlashForward had become a bogged down muddled mess of uneventful occurrences as the weeks went along. V actually got better by the time the fourth episode aired. Although, it’s still on shaky ground. The problem isn’t sci-fi high concept programs don’t appeal to viewers. It’s finding writers and showrunners that can produce an interesting show on a weekly basis. I often wonder when I see a boring show, if the showrunners, writers, etc. actually sat down and watched their own shows to see if they find the episode(s) creditable, entertaining, and engaging or were they bored with it as well and just send it on anyway. When I watch programs on tv today or I check out the ratings of the most watched tv series each week, it becomes quite clear that there are only a handful of writers, producers, showrunners, etc. that know how to develop series that expand their audiences and/or hold onto solid viewer numbers on a consistent basis. It should occur to ABC if the people you pay to develop series each week consistently give you crap, you might want to hire some new employees. These series are too expensive to be accepting crap dialogue with no compelling storyline whatsoever each week. Hopefully, for ABC V and Flashforward come back with a renewed vigor because they have so many dramedies that have lost their way(Ugly Betty, Brothers & Sisters, the new and unpredictable Deep End to name three)that they are borderline in need of an extreme makeover in their primetime lineup. It seems that only the showrunners and writers over at CBS are able to deliver compelling tv watching on a weekly basis.

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