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Why the First Attempt at a Suits Spinoff Failed




by Xtreme HD IPTV

Summary

  • Viewer fatigue from a long-running series like Suits hindered Pearson’s built-in audience, leading to low ratings and cancellation.
  • Pearson failed to resonate due to a narrow focus on one character, Jessica Pearson, alienating fans of the ensemble cast.
  • Marketing Pearson as a darker and more serious show, shifting away from the comedic aspect of Suits, may have turned off fans.



Created by Aaron Korsh, Suits premiered on the USA Network in 2011 and remained on the air for nine seasons. As soon as the popular legal drama concluded, a spin-off entitled Pearson immediately picked up where the original series left off. Pearson concerns the personal and professional exploits of Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres), the brilliant co-founding member of the law firm Pearson Hardman, who is caught in a moral bind when she becomes an influential fixer for the city’s mayor.


Despite garnering positive reviews from critics, Pearson lasted just one season before the USA Network pulled the plug on the show, leaving many to wonder why the Suits spin-off was abruptly canceled. With the second spin-off series Suits L.A. set to premiere in March 2024, it’s time to look back on the ill-fated Pearson and discover why the show failed to resonate with the masses and what went into the USA Network’s decision to end the spin-off after one season.


Suits Fatigue Hindered Built-In Audience

Suits

Suits

Release Date
June 23, 2011

Seasons
9


It’s always difficult for a TV show to maintain long-term audience enthusiasm. The more familiar with the characters viewers become and the more repetitive the storylines, viewers tend to tune out as a series continues for nearly a decade or more. In the case of the legal drama Suits, viewership dipped dramatically from Season 1 to Season 9, indicating that interest in the show had begun to wear thin. According to Show Buzz Daily, the series finale of Suits gained just 860,000 viewers in 2019, a precipitous drop-off from the pilot episode that attracted 4.6 million viewers in 2011.

Adding to the sense of audience fatigue, USA decided to air the pilot episode of Pearson concurrently with the season premiere of Suits Season 9. Both shows debuted on July 17, 2019. While Suits was designed to lead into Pearson as a continuous spin-off, the lack of interest in Suits by then severely hindered Pearson‘s built-in audience. Interestingly enough, Suits has seen a massive viewership ratings resurgence after the show ended in 2019, suggesting that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Narrow Focus on One Character


Another reason why Pearson failed to resonate among the masses is related to the show’s narrow shift to one character; Jessica Pearson. At its best, Suits was an ensemble show that allowed several characters to shine in crossover storylines that made for good dramatic television. While Suits began with a focus on Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) and Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), the series expanded over the years to allow characters like Rachel (Meghan Markle), Robert (Wendell Pierce), Jessica (Torres), Donna (Sarah Rafferty), Louis (Rick Hoffman), and Katrina (Amanda Schull) their chance to shine.

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Once Pearson debuted in 2019, the ensemble cast that fans got to know and love in the original series largely fell by the wayside to concentrate on Jessica’s storyline. No matter how compelling her personal and professional arc was in the spin-off, some fans felt alienated by no longer seeing so many beloved characters. Furthermore, the new characters that were introduced in Pearson simply weren’t as well written or performed by the actors as in the original Suits ensemble.

Pearson is Much Darker and More Serious Than Suits

Billed as a comedy-drama TV series, Suits always leaned into its funny characters and witty sense of humor. Thanks to its marketing as an entertaining riff on legal-political dramas, fans tuned in to enjoy the silly repartee between Harvey and Mike or Rachel and Robert. However, when it came time to promote Pearson, USA Network took a much more serious and sobering approach to attract viewers. Unfortunately, it did not have the intended results.


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By marketing Pearson as a darker and more serious political drama, fans who had already witnessed the decline of Suits in Season 9 may have been turned off by the tonal shift. It’s one thing to alienate fans by turning a beloved ensemble piece into a sole character-driven show, it’s quite another to abandon the comedic aspect of the show fans had grown accustomed to. Yet, that’s precisely what happened. Many fans of Suits did watch Pearson because it felt too dissimilar from what they were used to seeing.

Low Ratings Led to Pearson’s Demise


In the end, eyeballs dictate the fate of television shows and Pearson was no exception. Due to the show’s extremely low viewership ratings, especially compared to Suits, Pearson was canceled by the USA Network after one season and 10 episodes. No episode of the show ever attracted more than 570,000 viewers (via TV Series Finale). Worse yet, several storylines were left unresolved by the time Pearson was canceled, leaving the small fanbase on a permanent cliffhanger.

Although the character of Jessica Pearson was fascinating in her own right, the absence of the beloved characters from Suits hurt the spin-off’s chances for success. Moreover, the tonal shift from comedy to an overly serious drama also left fans feeling a bit cold. When factoring in the qualitative decrease in the lawyer show Suits and the overall sense of fatigue viewers had as the show came to a close, it’s easy to understand why Pearson did not pan out as intended. Perhaps Korsh and the creative forces behind the new spin-off, Suits L.A., also understand what went wrong with Pearson and take active measures to avoid repeating the mistake when the series airs in March 2024.


Stream Suits and Pearson on Peacock.

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