Posted on Tue, May. 06, 2003
Will 'Hack' be back? CBS may revoke its permit
By Gail Shister
Is the meter running out on Hack?
With so-so ratings, David Morse's freshman Philly-based drama is "on the bubble" to make CBS's fall lineup. The network announces its fall schedule May 14.
Hack, which ended its 22-episode season Friday, stars Morse as a disgraced Philadelphia cop-turned-taxi driver, with Andre Braugher as his corrupt ex-partner. It's the first network series to be shot entirely in our town.
Hack averaged 9.2 million viewers at 9 p.m. Fridays, finishing second to Dateline NBC. As the season went on, however, its ratings tumbled. Not surprisingly, Hack scored its best numbers here.
Hack's odds for a second season are 60-40 at best, says executive producer Robert Singer, a gambling man.
"This one is probably anybody's guess," says Singer, who was brought in to replace exec producers Thomas Carter and David Shore a week before Hack's Sept. 27 launch.
"I'm emotionally attached to this show," Singer says. "I'd like to know whether to put balm on the wound and move on, or get working again. If I was on [CBS's hit] King of Queens, I'd pretty much know about next year."
Singer, 59, is no stranger to the game. He's had his share of hits (ABC's Lois & Clark, the New Adventures of Superman) as well as misses (CBS's Turks).
But he's never had a show that was too close to call.
Hack finished with an 11 percent share of the audience at 9 p.m. Fridays. These days, a 15 share is a hit, Singer says. A 13 means you'll probably get renewed. A 10 to 12, well, you know the drill.
Producer Nan Bernstein isn't having a Hack attack. After almost 10 months of 18-hour days on location, she's just happy to be back to her quiet life in the Berkshires.
"I don't even think about it much," says Bernstein, a York, Pa., native and 26-year producing vet. "We all hope it gets picked up, but I've been disappointed before. I don't get emotionally invested... .
"When I'm working, I'm into it. When I'm here, I'm just thrilled to be home and back to my life."
Sharon Pinkenson, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, is thinking plenty about Hack.
The final figures aren't in yet, but according to earlier estimates, Hack could generate more than $60 million a year in goods and services in the region. The show wrapped production a month ago.
"One day, I feel like it's definitely going to be picked up, then the next day I get some other feeling," Pinkenson says. "... I'm as optimistic as I can possibly be. The show is huge for Philadelphia."
She'll be en route to the Cannes Film Festival when CBS unveils its new lineup. "I hope to be toasting the show from the Riviera."
Contact television columnist Gail Shister at 215-854-2224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.