TNT has decided not to move forward with a second season of The Great Escape, TV Guide Magazine has learned. The series was TNT's first foray into reality competition, and kicked off a commitment by the cable network to get into unscripted programming in a big way.
But The Great Escape only performed so-so in the ratings, premiering to 1.6 million viewers on June 24 but dropping to 873,000 viewers for its season finale on August 26. The show, from The Amazing Race executive producers Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri, Imagine TV and the Hochberg Ebersol Company, received mostly positive reviews but faced tough competition in its Sunday night time slot.
Hosted by NFL Network's Rich Eisen, The Great Escape pit three partners (couples, friends or family members — similar to The Amazing Race) opposite each other as they manage to escape from being held captive and then slowly search for clues and four hidden pieces of a puzzle. The catch: Roaming guards might recapture you and send your team back to the beginning. The first team to reach Eisen with an intact puzzle won $100,000.
Each episode was shot in a different extreme locale: Alcatraz, the USS Hornet, a Titan Missile silo, a Santa Clarita water and power plant, a Louisiana swamp and a Long Beach skyscraper.
TNT fared better this summer with its dramas, landing basic cable's top five scripted series — starting with The Closer, at 8 million viewers. Major Crimes was the summer's top-rated new scripted series (7.2 million).
Unscripted series are still a priority at TNT. Next up, the channel has ordered eight episodes of police docudrama Boston Blue, from executive producer Donnie Wahlberg; and eight episodes of the competition series 72 Hours. TNT also recently picked up The Hero, executive producer Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's televised search for a new action hero. All three shows are set to premiere sometime in 2013.
Van Munster and Doganieri, meanwhile, recently scored their ninth Emmy win for The Amazing Race and have a new competition series in the works at A&E.