NBC cancels SOUTHLAND – UPDATE
UPDATE: According to The Hollywood Reporter- “Southland” is close to landing at TNT. The cable network began conversations with corporate sibling Warner Bros. TV, which produces the cop drama, shortly after “Southland” was abruptly canceled by NBC earlier this month. Though a deal has not been completed, it now appears likely.
Oct. 9th, 2009
Clearly the Leno effect has become evident with the peacock network’s strange decision to axe Southland before second season episodes even began airing. The well executed police drama starring Ben McKenzie and Regina King got off to a solid start in the ratings when it replaced the long running ER in the Thursday 10PM timeslot at the tail end of last season, but ultimately saw viewership erosion with each episode. Still NBC renewed it and had it penciled in to come back Friday Oct 23 in the 9PM time slot now occupied by Dateline. Yesterday it was announced that NBC has pulled the plug on production with six episodes already shot and in the can. There is no official word whether they will ever air. Exec Producer John Wells (of ER fame) issued this statement about Southland’s cancellation:
“I’m disappointed that NBC no longer has the time periods available to support the kind of critically acclaimed series that was for so many years a hallmark of their success. We remain extremely proud of Southland, and are actively looking for another home for the series.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter this is the network’s reason for its cancellation:
While “Southland” enjoyed support among NBC brass last season, after screening the finished episodes from the upcoming second season, the show’s content was deemed too dark and gritty for broadcast TV, especially for 9 p.m. Additionally, a high-end drama like “Southland” is certainly far more expensive than newsmagazine “Dateline” for low-trafficked Friday night”.
I’m disappointed again by Network decision making. With a solid cast, terrific premise, and very realistic look, I really enjoyed Southland and thought it had potential to gain creative steam. Unfortunately, with Jay Leno being locked into NBC’s 10PM primetime lineup for the next two years, Southland was scarified and literally thrown overboard as there was no room in the network’s schedule for this scripted drama. With viewership continuing to erode on all the major networks scripted dramas are and will get scarcer and scarcer as time goes on. Sad but true. Thank goodness for HBO, Showtime, FX and TNT.
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