In a fall season filled with high-profile flops (cough, cough, Utopia, cough), even decent but steady ratings can be enough to earn a freshman series a vote of confidence. Such is the case with ABC’s Forever, an Ioan Gruffudd-starring drama about a medical examiner solving cases while attempting to figure out the mystery of his own immortality. The network just opted to pick up an additional nine episodes of the series, bringing its first season order to a full 22 episodes.
Forever opened to a solid 8.3 million viewers in September before dropping to about 5 million episodes, where it has been holding steady. And while its ratings haven’t been anything for network execs to write home about, Forever has certainly done better than some other new series. ABC was the first network to cancel a show this fall, canning freshman comedy Manhattan Love Story after it opened disappointingly low and continued to drop viewers week after week.
However, ABC has certainly had a better season than some of the other Big Four networks, thanks to the huge success of Shonda Rhimes-produced How to Get Away with Murder as well as decent returns from freshman comedies Selfie and Black-ish. ABC was also the first network to show a commitment to its new shows, picking up How to Get Away with Murder and Black-ish for full seasons before ordering additional episodes for Selfie. Though some shows, like Manhattan Love Story, are already dead and buried, prospects for the rest of ABC’s freshman class are unexpectedly rosy.
Of course, it would be silly to take a back-nine order for Forever to mean that a second season of the show is assured. As previously stated, its ratings haven’t been stellar, and if it drops between now and the end of its 22-episode freshman run, Forever might not last nearly that long on ABC. For now, though, the series’ showrunners have reason to celebrate.