Finale ratings may force early landing for ABC’s ‘Pan Am’


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‘Pan Am’ may be going the way of Pan Am.

ABC’s period piece about the 1960s glamour days of jet travel needed to post big ratings in its Sunday finale to stay a contender for renewal next season. But the show just didn’t have the engine thrust to do it.

A piddling 3.9 million viewers tuned in to the show’s Season 1 farewell, according to early data from Nielsen (final numbers will come Wednesday). That put ‘Pan Am’ last at the gate at 10 p.m., behind CBS’ ‘CSI: Miami’ (10 million) and NBC’s season premiere of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ (7.7 million). The show was likewise last among viewers aged 18 to 49, with a puny 1.2 rating.


Its premiere last fall borne aloft on a gust of publicity, with nearly 11 million viewers tuning in, ‘Pan Am’ seemed to get lost creatively as the season wore on, shunting aside an espionage angle and awkwardly mixing soapy and travel elements. Critic Daniel Fienberg, an early fan of the show, lamented on Monday that ‘ ‘Pan Am’ lost any sense of its identity many months ago.’

In an interview with Show Tracker last week, showrunner Steven Maeda admitted ‘Pan Am’ had had a rough flight but that the producers would like a ‘relaunch’ — writer-speak for ‘Give us another shot and we’ll fix the stuff that went wrong the first time around.’

ABC declined to comment.

What did you think of ‘Pan Am’? Should ABC keep it or ground it?


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—Scott Collins (