State of Affairs, as we observed in September, has some problems. But it also has a high budget, a bankable star and a time slot after NBC's flagship show, The Voice, as well as viewers who probably forgot The Blacklist is on hiatus until next year. So the question at the moment is pretty simple: Can State of Affairs win over enough viewers looking for the next big, flashy, action-packed drama?
The answer at the moment is "possibly." With the time slot ready to go, the show pulled a solid 2.2 rating last night, down significantly from The Blacklist's 2.69 average but above everything else on the network so far this season. The 10 p.m. spot on Monday isn't a terribly competitive one, and The Blacklist has owned it in a big way this season (legacy shows on CBS and ABC—NCIS: Los Angeles and Castle, respectively—are both sagging in the ratings but unlikely to get canceled this season. Neither The CW nor Fox programs the 10 p.m. hour).
Reviews of the show haven't been kind, though a few have noted the show makes canny use of Heigl's difficult reputation. (It's also been a troubled production—showrunner Ed Bernero left because he didn't get along with creator Joe Carnahan, an action-movie director responsible for stuff like Smokin' Aces and the big-screen remake of The A-Team.) The question is mostly how upset audiences will be over the midfall changeover. Is it a major bait-and-switch or a pleasant interlude? State of Affairs has a potential full season ahead of it (well, full-ish—it's starting mid-November so it can't be that full), and it could find a spot on the NBC schedule, oddly, alongside a number of other CIA-minded series, including CBS' Madam Secretary and NBC's own Allegiance.
Heigl herself has been on a charm offensive in the TV news magazines, telling Mario Lopez she watches former boss Shonda Rhimes' Scandal every week and that she wants to mend fences over her departure from Grey's Anatomy. "I'm sorry she is left with such a crappy impression of me," she said. "I wish I could do something to change that. Maybe I will be able to someday." Maybe!