It looks like CBS has lost faith in its lowest-rated drama, Medium. The network cut the supernatural show's episode order from 22 to 13, which gives fans a good reason to worry that cancellation might not be far off.
Medium has suffered a big decline in the ratings, losing more than 2 million viewers this year. Last Friday, Medium had 6.5 million viewers, with a 1.5/5 in adults 18-49, which puts it at the bottom of CBS's barrel when it comes to its scripted shows.
While poor ratings are not a new story for many of the shows on television these days, CBS can afford to be more demanding with its shows. The network just picked up all five of its freshman series, including Hawaii Five-O, and it has three midseason replacements waiting in the wings.
Medium executive producer Craig Sweeny said, "I am aware of what the ratings are each week, but if you think about it too much it interferes with the creative stuff."
He added: "We've done seven seasons. ... I looked up at the board in the writers' room the other day and analyzed the episodes we've done. And yeah, I think we have some really interesting stuff coming up."
Friday, CBS aired the fifth episode of Medium this season, leaving eight more to go. And so far CBS seems willing to let the series air the final episodes in the 13-episode order.
So what Medium stories are in our future? In upcoming episodes, Allison dreams of a future catastrophic event, she'll lose the ability to understand the spoken language, and Devalos has plans that may affect Allison's future.
"What we're introducing thematically is life beyond the current setup at Medium," said Sweeny. "In other words, Devalos isn't going to be the DA forever. And when he's gone, is Allison gonna have a job there? Who knows? Who knows how that next person is going to feel about having a psychic on the payroll? So we're exploring some stuff. Devalos is going to launch a run for mayor in the eighth episode of the season. At the same time, Allison feels the ground moving underneath her feet a little bit when he makes that announcement. And she makes a decision to go back to law school."
At the same time Allison is planning for her future, Joe considers going back to school to get his MBA. "So Joe and Allison find themselves in conflict ... because they can't logistically and financially make two parents in graduate school work. They find themselves at odds over whose career gets to advance, who gets to make this move. And the other thing that Joe deals with is ... we haven't seen his mother in quite some time," said Sweeny.
Kathy Baker returns as Joe's mom, Marjorie. "She was dealing with an illness, and that illness is going to recur. It's going to be a really big part of Joe's life," he said.
Also on the family front, we'll get a return visit from Allison's psychic brother, Lucky, played by Ryan Hurst.
However, one of the things Sweeny is most excited about is a "powerful episode about what Allison and the people around her on her block do when a sex offender moves onto the block. They're all notified via the notices that are required by law to go out. It's a very grounded but paranoid episode about how everybody reacts to that. Whether or not this guy is wholly a monster, or has redeemed himself, or even if he was every really a monster at all," he said. Saving Grace's Laura San Giacomo guest stars in the episode.
Medium airs on Friday nights at 8 p.m. ET.
Here's a preview of tomorrow night's episode, "Where Were You When ... ?"
Is it time for Medium to sign off for good, or should CBS keep the series around?