While the final episode of the first season of A&E drama The Beast wraps up some storylines tonight, it's unclear if the installment will prove to be a series finale as well.
The Beast, starring Patrick Swayze as Charles Barker, an unorthodox FBI agent, has scored okay with the Nielsens. The bigger question involves Swayze's battle with pancreatic cancer.
The pilot was filmed before Swayze's illness was diagnosed, as producers learned he had cancer four hours after they received the show order from Sony Pictures Television. In January, a hospital visit forced him to cancel an appearance at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour.
As for the Nielsens, The Beast has averaged 1.2 million viewers through its first 12 episodes in its 10 p.m. premiere window, a level A&E president and general manager Bob DeBitetto, in a recent interview with the Associated Press, said "gets us to second base."
With encores, the show has cumed 4.9 million weekly watchers, according to A&E officials.
DeBitetto said the series' future is not necessarily be tied to Swayze's involvement, as his character could be written out of the series, with an emphasis on existing or new players.
Ratings performance and Swayze's situation aside, the installment tonight, entitled "No Turning Back," focuses on the case that has haunted Barker for his entire career resurfaces and all the pieces finally come together, as he gets a list of the six people involved in the Red Gauntlet operation and in the killing of the ambassador and his daughter.
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