"In an Instant," the only network series to shoot almost entirely in Minnesota, will not be returning next summer.
ABC informed Eden Prairie-based Committee Films earlier this week that it would not be renewing its docudrama program for season four because of low ratings.
The show, which largely consisted of re-creating survival scenes in the wake of natural and man-made disasters, saw a 21 percent erosion in total viewers this summer with an average of 2.6 million viewers.
But even if the network had signed off on another round of episodes, Committee may have been forced to set up shop elsewhere due to a significant reduction in rebate money available from the state's "Snowbate" fund. During the past two years, the program had a total of $10 million available to subsidize film productions in Minnesota. But the Legislature only approved $1 million for the biennium that began this summer.
"As the show was being evaluated for renewal, we did discuss the challenges with this year's reduced Snowbate allowance with the network and indicated we would have to move the production to a state with more rebates available if we were granted a fourth season to make it financially feasible," said Maria Awes, senior vice president for Committee Films. "The reduction in Snowbate has an undeniable affect on our ability and the ability of other production companies to make TV here."
"Instant" may not have been one of Minnesota's sexiest projects, but it was one of the most reliable, with its team spending nearly $9 million in the state during its three-year run.
Committee hopes to continue to produce Minnesota-based TV and has projects in the works for MSNBC, History, Travel and HGTV. Two episodes of "Instant" have yet to air; no dates have been announced.