MSU alum campaigns via Facebook to save 'Detroit 1-8-7'
By KURT ANTHONY KRUG
ABC crime drama, shot in the Motor City, may not see a second season
The first season of ABC’s “Detroit 1-8-7” may be over, but the battle fans are waging to bring back the police drama that is set and filmed in Detroit for a second season rages on.
People across the metro Detroit area have started Facebook pages, campaigning for the show’s renewal. The ensemble series that stars Michael Imperioli (“The Sopranos”) and James McDaniel (“NYPD Blue”) debuted last September to much, scoring more than 9 million viewers. Ratings have since been mediocre, averaging around 5 million viewers once the hype wore off. The finale, which aired March, had 4.2 million viewers, according to ABC. The finale aired on a Sunday night, instead of the usual Tuesday evening slot.
“I think the obvious answer to the ratings decrease is the change in nights that it aired. I think it is as simple as that; I do think we’ll see an increase in viewership when we see DVR figures,” observed Lindsay Warren, a Michigan State University alumnus who is passionate about “1-8-7.” “Lastly, I don't think the finale was promoted nearly enough. I saw so much initial promotion for the the show before the pilot even aired, and then it tapered off.”
It is unclear what the fate of “1-8-7” is. ABC will not announce its TV schedule for the 2011-12 season until mid-May.
Despite the low ratings for the finale, Warren is not discouraged.
“I definitely think the lower ratings has energized us to try and turn on more people to the show,” she said.
“What drew me to it was initially curiosity,” Warren said. “What kept me watching was the characters. The characters are very likable — you’re immediately drawn to them. Clich as it sounds, they kept me coming back week after week. You can relate to the characters. You care about the characters. It’s a good quality show.”
Another obstacle “1-8-7” faces is Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal to cap the Michigan film tax incentive, which — when established in 2008 — gave filmmakers filming in Michigan a tax rebate of approximately 40 percent.
“I think that if Snyder eliminates the film tax incentives, not only will the entire industry die, but ‘Detroit 1-8-7’ will be forced to also film elsewhere (if it’s picked up for a second season),” Warren said. “This truly is a shame, as the city is definitely one of the characters of the show now.”
In interviews, Imperioli and McDaniel have expressed hopes of returning for a second season. So has Erin Cummings, who plays medical examiner, Dr. Abby Ward. Cummings maintains residences in Chicago and Royal Oak, “with the high hopes that ‘Detroit 1-8-7’ is brought back for a second season,” she said.
Cummings also founded the charity Mittens for Detroit, which donated between 8,000-10,000 pairs of gloves and mittens to Detroit residents. Cummings plans on maintaining her connections to the Motor City, even if “1-8-7” doesn’t return for a second season.
“I noticed in Detroit that people are proud of this city and they have a lot to be proud of,” Cummings said. “Detroit has an incredibly rich history in this country and is a city that has been beaten up.
“But I see that fighting spirit everyday when I talk to citizens who are either old enough to remember when Detroit was great or people who heard stories about that time and they really want to make it so again. There’s something so infectious about that ‘let’s pick ourselves back up’ spirit. I think it needs to be encouraged.”
Fans can click on abc.go.com/site/contact-us in support of “1-8-7,” directing their concerns to Paul Lee, president of ABC Entertainment.