Before LOST was about to head into its final season in early 2010, ABC wanted to try everything to get another hit genre show on the air, and developing a remake of an alien invasion series from the 1980s might have been a good idea for some executives in the offices of the alphabet network. The evil reptile aliens in friendly meat suits and definitely non-read overalls started to invade ABC airwaves in November of 2009 for four episodes, before ABC decided to put the show into a four-month long hiatus, guaranteeing an uninterrupted run of unbelievable nine episodes of the show in the spring of 2010. Now you can ask yourself whether this was a good or bad idea from the beginning, but it was a fact that some TV pundits were guaranteeing the network that after the show would return from hiatus, the ratings would be much lower than during the first four episode. And it was also a guarantee that V might not even be able to recreate the success of LOST, or even be a great show in general.
The series premiere looked great in numbers. It doesn’t happen all the time that a show starts with a rating above 5.0 in the target demo. With that, the way down for V was a long one, though it would be a cruel one. Over the next three weeks, the show lost five million viewers, which was the first crucial fact for the show never becoming the success LOST had been throughout its first two seasons. The average in the target demographic over the first four episodes was a kinda-whooping 3.8. Even though the show lost 2.1 ratings points over the course of four weeks, the average was still good enough for ABC to hope that the ratings turn out to be a little higher than now expected, when the show would return four months later. Yet ABC was preparing for the worst and cut down the episode order from 13 to 12. Not much, one might thing, but it’s noticeable that the network wanted to make sure not to waste close to $3 million for an episode for a show that might not even make it to a second season.
Well, the average in the target demographic for the next eight episodes went down to 2.25, which is the second crucial fact for V to never become that big show on ABC. For one episode, V even tanked below a 2.0 rating, which was very close to cancellation. ABC knew from here on that V would have it difficult to become a hit, but the network tried nonetheless to give the science-fiction show another shot of invasion with a 10-episode second season.