Hilary Swank came to network television in the 2022-2023 TV season as the star of ABC’s Alaska Daily. It’s a rare freshman show that can debut with the star power of a two-time Academy Award-winner, and ABC even gave it the enviable time slot directly following Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday nights. Alaska Daily had a recipe for success from when it first premiered as part of the 2022 fall TV schedule, but the first season ended without news of a second. So, let’s look into what we know about the show’s chances of returning for another batch of episodes!
The eleven-episode first season of Alaska Daily centered on Hilary Swank’s Eileen Fitzgerald, a reporter who left her high-profile life in New York behind in disgrace, to seek redemption with a metro newspaper in Anchorage, Alaska. The show was ABC’s only new fall series of the 2022-2023 TV season, although the network did debut police procedural Will Trent (based on Karin Slaughter’s novels) and Milo Ventimiglia’s The Company You Keep early in 2023. The Season 1 finale of Swank’s show aired on March 30, without confirmation of whether or not more episodes are on the way. Fortunately, the ratings paint an interesting picture for speculation.
For the Season 1 finale on March 30, TVLine reports that Alaska Daily scored a Live+Same day rating of 0.2 and audience of 2.7 million viewers in the valuable 18-49 age demographic. This marks the seventh straight week of an 0.2 rating for the show in Live+Same, and averages a 0.4 rating and 5.4 million viewers in Live+7 (a.k.a. the number of people who watched within seven days of the initial broadcast). These numbers make Hilary Swank’s show rank #6 is audience size of ABC’s ten dramas this TV season, although tied for last in the rating with The Company You Keep.
While Live+Same ratings aren’t quite as meaningful in the era of streaming services and delayed viewing, the numbers are still important to the survival of a freshman series. The average ratings for Alaska Daily over its first season aren’t terrible, and it’s a mark in the show’s favor that it has maintained the same rating for seven episodes in a row. Unfortunately, it didn’t maintain a particularly high rating, but the consistency suggests that the show is holding onto the audience that it found.
Just days before the finale aired, Deadline released a status report on the renewals and cancellations for ABC. The outlet reports that while Alaska Daily has internal support, a second season isn’t likely due to its failure to break out and win a sizable audience. It’s worth noting that ABC hasn’t announced renewals across the board yet. Grey’s Anatomy and Abbott Elementary are the only two scripted series that have been renewed at the time of writing.
While it’s a pretty safe bet that Station 19 and The Conners will both return (and I’m comfortable predicting another season for The Rookie and The Rookie: Feds as well), Alaska Daily isn’t alone in not having a hard answer about its future. All the same, Alaska Daily not getting news of a renewal when it has already ended for the season doesn’t feel like a good sign to me, and the ratings aren’t significant enough for me to bet against the Deadline report predicting a cancellation.
Still, television can change quickly, and even cancellations aren’t guaranteed to stick as long as there are fans ready to campaign, studios willing to listen, and platforms available to keep series going. That just may not be the case for Alaska Daily. While we wait for news of whether Hilary Swank will be back on ABC or perhaps have time to appear on Cobra Kai, you can always revisit all eleven episodes of Season 1 streaming with a Hulu subscription.