What Went Wrong with The CW's Ringer?
Sarah Michelle Gellar | Photo Credits: Michael Desmond/The CW
Why? Ratings haven't been great. Ringer hit a series low two weeks ago with only 1.05 million tuning in. On the surface, it's hard to explain why: Not only was Sarah Michelle Gellar, best known for her Buffy the Vampire Slayer days, returning to TV, but viewers were getting a double dose of her as estranged twins, one of whom faked her own death. There was also whole lot of eye candy (see: Ioan Gruffudd, Kristopher Polaha and Lost alum Nestor Carbonell), and a murder mystery with as many twists and turns as there are Buffy die-hards.
So why didn't Ringer become the new guilty pleasure hit? TVGuide.com turned to series executive producer Pam Veasey (CSI: NY) to get her take on why the neo-noir thriller never clicked with a big audience. Plus: Veasey discusses how Season 2 would be different should the series get renewed, and how Siobhan and Bridget have become the "will-they-or-won't-they" duo of the show. (Oh, get your mind out of the gutter!)
Now that Ringer's first year is coming to a close, did the first season turn out the way you guys had imagined?
Veasey: When you start, you have all these ideas and then you create the stories responding to what the audience is hungry for. As writers/producers, it's not always what you plan when you first sit down because you don't know how the audience will respond. The reasons the sisters were apart was important for us to reveal and we did that. Bridget living in this life, pretending to be Siobhan, with Siobhan being back in New York knowing her sister had taken her role. Those things were planned and those things worked out.
Did the season finale end up being what you guys had planned or was it altered?
Veasey: It's a combination of what [co-creators Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder] planned and some additions. A television show is a breathing, living creature. It takes on a life of its own because the audiences respond to certain actors or certain moments or certain things. We knew Andrew (Gruffudd) had an ex-wife, but we didn't know how involved Catherine (Andrea Roth) would be in the stories in the back end. And we knew there would be relationship issues with Bridget learning about her sister's affair with Henry (Polaha) and the complications of that, but we didn't know how that would unfold. It really is an animal unto itself when you're starting the season.
When the series was in development, it was moved from CBS to CW. How did that change Ringer?
Veasey: We only built the pilot for CBS, and then from that point on we knew we were with CW once we got on the air. They are different. I believe CW is more serialized. Their audiences tend to stay with it, and CBS tends to close the stories more. Because I work actually for both networks and I'm aware of that. We just started making the product for CW. I can't say that something changed, we just started developing the stories so they fit better with CW.
Do you think the serialized nature of the show was hard for people to follow?
Veasey: I think the audiences who [watched from the beginning] loved the detail and complexity of the episodes, but I think people joining found it difficult to jump right in because you missed some things even though we had recaps. The lesson you learn is that people don't want to have to know a lot. They want to enjoy the episode. We have lots of episodes like that, but others may have seemed complicated for the audience. I get it, because audiences don't want to drop in and understand it right away. And if they've missed the recaps I think there's a little bit of frustration. It was a double edge sword.