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April 19, 2014

'Harper's Island': How CBS Killed This Summer's Guiltiest Pleasure

by Sandra Deane, posted Jul 14th 2009 5:00PM
Harper's Island'Harper's Island' sounded like the perfect recipe for cheesy summer fun -- a 13-episode Agatha Christie style whodunit where wedding guests gather in a lush locale only to be killed off one by one. Unfortunately, CBS was swifter with the ax than the show's mystery serial killer. After just three episodes, the network yanked it from its sweet Thursday slot and buried it in the Saturday primetime wasteland.

Thanks to the DVR "record series" option, some indulged in their weekly hour of TV horror uninterrupted (gotta love technology), but the majority of viewers were left confused and annoyed when the show was relocated with little fanfare. It was a boneheaded move by the network that cost them ratings: 'Harper's' average viewers dropped a steep 50% -- from 7 million to 3.5 million -- in the Saturday slot.Harper's Island'Harper's Island' sounded like the perfect recipe for cheesy summer fun -- a 13-episode Agatha Christie style whodunit where wedding guests gather in a lush locale only to be killed off one by one. Unfortunately, CBS was swifter with the ax than the show's mystery serial killer. After just three episodes, the network yanked it from its sweet Thursday slot and buried it in the Saturday primetime wasteland.

Thanks to the DVR "record series" option, some indulged in their weekly hour of TV horror uninterrupted (gotta love technology), but the majority of viewers were left confused and annoyed when the show was relocated with little fanfare. It was a boneheaded move by the network that cost them ratings: 'Harper's' average viewers dropped a steep 50% -- from 7 million to 3.5 million -- in the Saturday slot.

It's a shame, really. 'Harper's' wasn't the most brilliant show on TV, but it sure was entertaining. It was, honestly, the one reality-free hour I anticipated with giddy joy each week -- especially knowing it would all come to a concrete conclusion in just 13 episodes. And despite some plot and character flaws, it was well executed and satisfying to the bitter end. There's pretty much no chance for a second season, but hopefully this won't close the door on future limited-run series experiments. -- By Sandy Deane



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