Earlier this week, ComicBook.com had the opportunity to chat with Constantine showrunner Daniel Cerone about the state of the series, what fans can do to keep it going in spite of NBC's recent decision not to award the show a "back nine" order beyond its thirteen-episode season and more.
Acknowledging that conventional wisdom can create a reality, and feeling that the message about the situation wasn't accurately being reflected in some of the media coverage, Cerone joined us in a lengthy, candid interview to talk about what's going on with the show.
Check back later for our full interview with Cerone, but in the lead-up to tonight's episode of Constantine, here's five key things we learned about the series and its status:
The series is not cancelled.
Cerone couldn't impress upon us enough that Constantine remains in contention for a second season, and that whether or not it gets one will likely come down to ratings over the next several episodes.
He said that NBC "couldn't be more passionate advocates" for Constantine, citing the network's decision to fly stars Matt Ryan and Angelica Celaya to appear in yesterday's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
"You don't do that kind of promotion for a show that you're done with -- you just don't."
NBC is listening.
While it might sound like talking points, Cerone encouraged fans to continue to tweet @nbcconstantine, interact with the series' stars on Twitter, like the show's Facebook page, use the #saveconstantine hashtag all over social media and all the other stuff that fans have already been doing. NBC is paying close attention to not only the show's ratings but to all of the metrics.
NBC likes the show.
Cerone had nothing but praise for the way NBC has handled the series up to now.
"There is that human factor," Cerone said, giving a lot of credit for the success Constantine has had so far to Executive Vice President of Drama Programming Pearlena Igbokwe. "I spent the previous four years as an executive producer on The Mentalist. We were a 10 p.m. show that built on our 9 p.m. lead in substantially, which never happens. the 9 p.m. show was The Good Wife. Hardcore fans, good press...does it do the numbers? I seriously doubt CBS makes money on that show. But it's good for their schedule, it's a good show, it's a show they believe in. And that's how NBC has been from the beginning with Constantine."
The situation is genuinely unusual.
There were a great many headlines that ran after the announcement that Constantine's thirteenth episode will be the season finale, which painted the picture as quite bleak, either suggesting or saying outright that the show was all but dead as a result.
Cerone, a former reporter, says he knows why that happened -- but that the show was actually in an unusual circumstance (and one that the network understands), so he wishes the writers of those articles would have reached out for clarification because he feels a very important fact has gone widely unreported.
"[For] all these people with websites predicting cancellation, It's so easy: 'Oh, they didn't order the back nine' and all of a sudden, that show's off the airwaves," he told us. "We started shooting our show in March for the traditional fall premiere, and then after we'd already been shooting, NBC decided to hold our premiere until October 24 to take advantage of the Halloween spirit. They've done this before with Grimm, where they would hold their fall premiere until after all the clutter and hold it until closer to Halloween. Normally we would have had three or four more episodes air before NBC got to the point where they made the call to stop production. To stay in continuous production for 22 episodes, they needed to make the order last week. Normally, they would have had four additional [episodes] to make the call but they didn't because of the push in our premiere date. That's huge. We showed that 38% jump after we'd already gotten the call that we're not getting a back nine. There's a lot of factors at play.
Full disclosure: we never reported that fact, either, but we did reach out to NBC shortly after the announcement came and our initial report suggested that cancellation was far from guaranteed in Constantine's case.
Tonight's episode is a little different.
"The Devil Inside," the episode that airs tonight, should be a pretty decent jumping-on point...but maybe won't further the larger narrative as much as the last couple of weeks' episodes have.
That's because tonight's episode (you can see a trailer below) was originally meant to air as the second episode of the series and so doesn't feature Zed or refer back to any events that happened after the pilot.
That said, it will tackle the larger issue of the Rising Darkness, something that some critics felt was too absent from the early episodes after a big build-up in the premiere and the advertising campaign.
Constantine is back on TV tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. Check back soon for the full interview with Daniel Cerone, and keep watching for more information on Constantine's future.
In the meantime, here's one more tease for the road, about the scripts ordered and not produced...and will eventually see the light of day:
"[Episode] Fourteen was Judith. I wrote that script, we were meeting Judith. I did a total Hack/Slash take on her, which was so much fun. She had sort of reinvented herself after Newcastle going after..." He hesitated, apparently not wanting to give too much away, and simply said, "it was Hack/Slash inspired. Fifteen was a whole Chinatown kind of episode and then Sixteen was Terry Thirteen. We have those scripts written and they will see the light of day eventually."