Whenever a two-time Academy Award winner comes to broadcast TV, the industry takes notice. So with Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby star Hilary Swank leading the cast of Alaska Daily, expectations were riding high ahead of the ABC show’s Oct. 6 premiere. But will Alaska Daily be canceled or renewed?
In the show, Hilary plays Eileen Fitzgerald, an investigative reporter seeking redemption after a career setback in New York City. At the urging of her old boss, Stanley Cornik (Jeff Perry), Eileen moves to Anchorage, AK, and starts working for the Daily Alaskan newspaper, joining forces with Roz Friendly (Grace Dove) to investigate a cold case involving missing and murdered Indigenous women.
‘Alaska Daily hasn’t been canceled or renewed, but its ratings have been falling.
ABC has neither renewed nor canceled Alaska Daily by the time of this post, but the show’s viewership numbers have been falling. Alaska Daily premiered on Oct. 6 with 3.59 million viewers and a 0.32 rating in the 18-to-49-year demographic, according to TV Series Finale. By the show’s fifth episode on Nov. 3, those numbers had dropped to 2.63 million viewers — down 25 percent — and a 0.17 rating in the 18-to-49 demo — down 47 percent.
The website SpoilerTV — which uses TV ratings, production costs, online popularity, and other metrics for its Cancellation Predictor Table — speculates that Alaska Daily is likely to be canceled. In fact, Alaska Daily is the ABC show most in danger of cancelation and the third most-endangered show on broadcast television, according to the table.
That said, delayed viewing may be Alaska Daily’s saving grace. The show’s first two episodes added an average of 2.56 million viewers in the week after they aired on ABC, which The Hollywood Reporternoted was the biggest seven-day gain of any new broadcast TV series this season.
Many critics are pulling for the show to succeed.
“Watching it, I felt a sensation I hadn’t in far too long: This is something new,” wrote The Daily Beast’s Coleman Spilde. “This is the rare, modern network drama to balance mass appeal with semi-progressive ideology. Led by an absorbing performance from Swank … Alaska Daily is the most intriguing new show on network television.”
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Owen said that “there’s enough potential in Alaska Daily to easily be fall broadcast TV’s best drama pilot that it’s worth rooting for this series that’s earnest without being cloying, sincere without getting sappy.”
And Common Sense Media’ Monique Jones calls Alaska Daily “a powerful drama that both upholds the tenets of investigative journalism and puts the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) on its largest platform yet.”