The Contra Security team of Breaking In has protected priceless works of art and famous celebrities, but the cast and crew behind the scenes of the Fox comedy are working on their biggest assignment yet: trying to get a Season 2 renewal.
Less than a week ago, the freshman comedy was one of five shows axed by Fox. Even next to the cancellations of cult favorites like Human Target and Lie to Me, the news that the network was ending Breaking In came as one of the bigger surprises because of its star power (Christian Slater, Bret Harrison) and its impressive ratings (the series has averaged 7.7 million viewers in its post-Idol berth).
"It really couldn't have gone any better. Fox loves the cast. I always did what I wanted on the show and they loved it creatively," co-creator and executive producer Adam F. Goldberg tells TVGuide.com. "They were definitely happy with the ratings, so everyone was really surprised, myself included."
Days after the programming bloodbath, however, Fox opened a small window of opportunity for the sitcom by moving the season finale to Tuesday at 9:30/8:30c. Airing behind fellow freshman comedy Raising Hope, Fox hopes to test the strength of Breaking In's fan base minus Ryan Seacrest and Jennifer Lopez and see whether there's justification for a renewal.
"It's kind of last-minute, but hopefully the fans will find it," Goldberg says of the episode, which he calls the show's "most ambitious" yet. "I think cast-wise and creative-wise, Fox recognizes that there is still something there and that's why they're revisiting it again. Hopefully we'll be able to work it out."
Luckily, the show seems to have an important supporter in Fox's Entertainment President Kevin Reilly. In interviews leading up to Fox's upfront presentation, Reilly called the initial cancellation a "heartbreaker" and said he hoped to find a way to bring the show back. "He called to say that they were canceling it, but even he said, 'Look, I'm going to sleep on it. It's not a definite pass,'" Goldberg says.
Unfortunately, Breaking In's future may hinge more on whether Fox can find a suitable show to pair it with rather than on ratings or internal network support. "They just really don't know what to do with it," Goldberg says. "When you have a family show or a relationship show, they really know how to promote that and make that a hit. But if you have a show about a bunch of geniuses who do heists every day, that's hard for any network to figure out."
This coming fall season's lineup may prove especially difficult to find a match for Breaking In. While Fox has built a reputation on edgy and risk-taking comedies throughout its 25-year history (The Simpsons, Married... with Children and Family Guy, to name a few), this Fall 2011 is "really about female viewers," according to Goldberg, with Glee, American Idol and several new female-driven comedies including The New Girl and I Hate My Teenage Daughter populating the schedule.
Despite the heavy action and boasting just one female series regular, Breaking In has proven to be more popular with females than males, Goldberg claims. However, he says he's willing to be flexible about where the show can grow and change if it has a future, even if it means trying to create more female-friendly stories. "We wanted to add another female character for Christian. We possibly wanted it to be Alyssa Milano because she was so good," he says. "We had things we wanted to do to the show just to make it work more for Fox and for us."
But is Goldberg worried about having to change too much about the show in order to make it fit into the network's mold? "These shows get retooled a lot and as long as I have Christian, Bret, Alphonso [Mcauley], Odette [Annable] and my cast, I'll always be fine. I can make those people funny whether we're doing a heist or not," he says. "For me, you just don't let a cast this good go."
Breaking In airs Tuesday at 9:30/8:30c on Fox.