Showrunner Craig Sweeney noted that the reboot of the feature film will “not continue on any platform.” It’s official: CBS’ Limitless will not live on to see a second season.
Days after CBS president Glenn Geller told reporters that producers were trying to find a home for the second season of the feature film reboot, showrunner Craig Sweney took to Twitter to announce the fate of his series.
“I’m truly sad to report that #Limitless will not continue on any platform. Thanks so much to everyone who watched,” he wrote.
Sources say producers CBS Television Studios had taken Limitless to Amazon and Netflix, with both streaming services now opting to pass on picking up the series for a second season.
The freshman drama averaged a 2.4 rating among adults 18-49 with impressive DVR numbers factored in, but its live-plus-same-day stats (1.4) placed it well behind that of Tuesday night counterparts NCIS (2.2) and NCIS: New Orleans (1.8). With all three NCIS shows returning as well as cop dramas Training Day and MacGyver, CBS has opted to see if it can improve on Limitless’ performance.
The news comes as the Jake McDormand and Jennifer Carpenter starrer had a fair amount of critical support. The Hollywood Reporter’s TV critic Daniel Fienberg called it one of TV’s most “creative procedurals.”
Overall, CBS’ 2015-16 freshman class finishes 3 for 7, with the network also cancelling Rush Hour and comedy Angel From Hell while renewing Life in Pieces, Code Black and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. Supergirl was canceled but will move to The CW for season two.
The procedural based on the movie is more than likely done at CBS.
Sometimes IP just isn’t enough.
Fresh off cancelling Rush Hour, CBS appears poised to drop fellow film-to-TV reboot Limitless, with executives telling press during its pre-upfront breakfast that the procedural is being shopped elsewhere by producers CBS Television Studios.
“Right now we’re in discussions with other potential buyers so I’d rather not comment on that at the moment,” CBS president Glenn Geller told reporters, declining to say the series has officially been canceled.
The decision to likely drop Limitless comes after CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves was bullish about nearly all of the network’s first-year shows back in March. But enlisting Bradley Cooper, who starred in the 2011 film on which the show was based, as an executive producer and recurring guest star didn’t provide the fireworks the network was no doubt banking on for a blockbuster film star and three-time Oscar nominee.
The drama averaged a 2.4 rating among adults 18-49 with impressive DVR numbers factored in, but it’s live-plus-same-day stats (1.4) placed it well behind that of Tuesday night counterparts NCIS (2.2) and NCIS: New Orleans (1.8). With all three NCIS shows returning as well as cop dramas in Training Day and MacGyver, CBS has opted to gamble to see if it can improve on Limitless’ performance.
While the Jake McDormand and Jennifer Carpenter starrer likely won’t be back on CBS, the series did receive a fair amount of critical support. THR’s TV critic Daniel Fienberg called it one of TV’s most “creative procedurals.”
Overall, CBS’ freshman class finishes at 3-for-7, with the network also cancelling comedy Angel From Hell and renewing Life in Pieces, Code Black and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders with Supergirl canceled and moving to The CW for season two.
What would you do if you could access 100% of your brain? If you’re Scarlett Johansson in the title role of Lucy, you engage in a Kubrickian odyssey of the mind. But if you’re Bradley Cooper as (really) struggling writer Eddie Morra in Limitless, you become a financial wizard with political aspirations while at the same time attempt to prevent your life from spinning out of control in various dangerous ways. You also serve as the launching point for a TV series.
In that 2011 film, Morra ingests a mysterious pill – known as NZT – which unlocks his mind and sets his life off on a very different path. In this season’s TV version, Morra – now a senator with an eye towards the Oval Office – finds someone he can use to make a difference in the world in the form of Brian Finch (Greek and American Sniper’s Jake McDorman). In a nutshell, Brian (taking a daily dose of the pill), who has been framed for his friend’s murder, finds himself working alongside FBI agent Rebecca Harris (Dexter’s Jennifer Carpenter) in what evolved into the most unorthodox procedural on television.
As the show wraps up its first season, McDorman, Carpenter and series executive producer/showrunner Craig Sweeney reflect on how things have changed, and where they might be going.
Casting Finch & Harris
Sweeney: For me, with Jake it was very much you know it when you see it kind of thing. I didn’t know his work, I hadn’t watched Greek or his other big credits. What happened was that our casting director mentioned that there was a guy who had been in American Sniper with Bradley. We brought it up to Bradley and he thought Jake would be great. I just wasn’t sure, based on the kind of roles he was playing, if he was right for Brian. We set up a meeting and I could see right away that this guy has what really differentiated the character from Eddie. That would be somebody who has an inherent kindness and goodness and genuineness. I saw that Jake had all those things. Now, 22 episodes in, I couldn’t imagine anybody else playing that part.
McDorman: Right off the bat it was apparent that this would be an opportunity to play two characters, or two versions of the same character. You have Brian when he’s on NZT and then Brian regular. Obviously all the people involved with the show were really enticing. I was a fan of the movie, I’ve been a fan of Bradley since before I worked with him in American Sniper.
Sweeney: The thing we were really trying to get our heads around when we cast Jennifer was that for the pilot she was seven and a half months pregnant at the beginning and eight and a half months pregnant at the end. We had this actress who really did a great read, and she is so gifted in taking up the nuances of whatever material you give her. So it wasn’t a question of can you play this talent wise, it was the question of was she going to give birth in the middle of the pilot? We talked to other people about it and this is apparently something that happens often in pilots. Julie Bowen was very pregnant during the Modern Family pilot. Eventually we developed strategies to cover it up and it obviously worked out. I think Jennifer brings an enormous sense of intelligence and integrity and makes you feel like you’d watch a show focused on her. Even if she wasn’t matched up with this incredible character of Brian, I think she’s very compassionate. Brian is definitely the focal point of the show and the audience surrogate, but I think any sense of compassion and caring for him makes the audience in turn more intrigued about her character.
Jennifer Carpenter (actress, Rebecca Harris): Because I was eight months pregnant, I was thinking of my family first, but they made a ton of space for my son to come to work, and it felt very nurturing. It was after I had weighed out those aspects of it that I started to look at the caliber of people putting this together. If the show was going to look anything like the pilot, then I wanted to be a part of it. I’m glad that I did. It’s been very challenging, but worth it.
Playing With Format
Anyone watching the pilot for Limitless could have easily had a flashback to Josh Holloway’s 2014 series Intelligence in that the procedural set up was almost the same. However, it barely took any time for Limitless to prove that formula was not something it was interested in, constantly playing with the show’s format.
Carpenter: I have to admit, I was worried about it. They were offering a new show and you kind of commit to the unknown. I wasn’t terrible excited about it being a procedural, but it is new and it works. That’s a tough order these days, to not only raise the bar but sometimes reset it. It’s a really challenging arena right now with the taste for action and suspense and thrills. It’s hard to push the boundaries.
It’s An NZT Kind Of World
The NZT drug colors much of Limitless, whether it’s through the characters or the storylines. There have been personal journeys, explorations of what happens when those pills hit the streets and even one instance where Rebecca takes it and for the first time gets a taste of what the world is like for Brian. All told, it’s allowed for things to evolve in a variety of ways.
Carpenter: I’m incredibly impressed with the writers, but with Rebecca it feels like I just sort of ride the current. There aren’t a lot of major hurdles that come up for her that truly flips the trajectory of who she is. It’s just knowing the baseline aspects that I know to be true about her, and then filtering the information as it comes week to week. Something that’s happened naturally between me and Jake is a friendship has grown, and luckily we have been able to show that on camera. It’s been beneficial, certainly, to us and I think to the show as well. Story wise, I guess the one exception was when Rebecca took NZT. I got a taste of what Jakes does every single week. I’m there, right along side him for most of the days. But the fact that he is able to retain that information and manipulate it in a way that he can spin it, and put his button on it… I enjoyed having a taste of it, but it is mental and physical gymnastics. He’s just better suited for it.
It might be a little presumptuous to discuss season two considering that the show hasn’t been officially renewed, but everyone involved is relatively confident that their adventures will continue, and they most definitely have considered what might be on the horizon.
Carpenter: In order for me to get where I would like to go in the series, Brian has to go somewhere else. I would like to see the week-to-week move into something with a little more weight and something new. I get that we are capturing the bad guys again and again, but with 100% use of your brain, I’d like to see us address more, if that makes sense. More on a global scale than locally.
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I’ve finally uploaded captures from Season 4 to Season 8 of Dexter, all the scenes with Debra Morgan are now captured and uploaded to the website gallery. Make sure to check them by clicking the thumbnails below.
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Here’s what you need to know about CBS: they can basically broadcast whatever they want and it’s going to make money. More so than any other network, CBS owns the series they make (that might seem obvious, but most of the broadcasts swap around series that they produce, leasing them out and acquiring others), and they know their audience. So even if you aren’t CBS’s demographic, you have to respect their game, which is printing money.
So it’s not surprising that CBS CEO Les Moonves said at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet, and Telecom Conference this morning that the Eye plans to renew most of its freshman series. As Deadline reports, Moonves (somewhat cryptically) said:
“We have about five new shows on this year,” he says. “Of those five, I believe all five of them will be renewed, and we own four of them.”
Well, that math doesn’t exactly add up. Yes, there were five series (Limitless, Code Black, Life in Pieces, Supergirl and Angel from Hell) that launched this fall, although CBS only owns four of them. One — Angel from Hell — has already been cancelled. If he’s including series that are launching this spring (Rush Hour and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders), that will bring the total to six, with CBS owning a total of four.
So … no, we have no idea what is going on. While some of these others may be more on the bubble (like Code Black), Supergirl is most likely a lock. It’s numbers have been steady (even though they’ve slipped recently), but generally it’s bringing in a respectable 1.8 in the ratings, and a sizable 8 million viewers overall. That puts it, at least, ahead of Limitless and Code Black, though a little behind Life in Pieces.
But back to CBS printing money, because they own most of their series, that helps them massively in syndication (even though cable companies are saying they are buying less reruns these days in favor of their own original series). As Moonves also pointed out,
“Look at the ratings. Look at how often The Big Bang Theory is on [TBS]. It’s on almost every 20 seconds. So when they say, ‘Oh, we’re not buying as much off-network [reruns],’ that’s not exactly the truth. That marketplace is very solid.”
But CBS is also pushing into the digital marketplace by offering CBS All Access, where certain shows — like next year’s Star Trek series — will premiere exclusively. Moonves also said that he ordered a conservative 17 pilots for the fall season, expecting to only pick up “no more than four or five … we don’t need that much.” Apparently not!