09
Oct
09

*sigh*

From the New York Times:

NBC Cancels Well-Regarded ‘Southland’

Today, NBC canceled one of the best-reviewed shows of recent years, the police drama “Southland,” before it had a chance to get on the air for its second season.

The show, which premiered in the spring and had a strong start in the ratings, though it struggled in its later episodes, had six new episodes produced for the new season. But NBC delayed its start date from mid-September until Oct. 23. NBC has been filling that hour — 9 p.m. on Fridays — with the newsmagazine show “Dateline NBC.”

Now NBC has dropped “Southland” altogether. Ratings for Friday shows have become universally low, and expensive dramas seem to be faltering especially on Fridays. “Dateline” can be produced for a fraction of the cost.

“Southland” started as a 10 p.m. show on Thursdays, and its style was consistent with others that have played there for decades. But NBC no longer has any 10 p.m. periods for drama because it has moved the new “Jay Leno Show” into that slot every weeknight. The style of “Southland” was largely distinguished by gritty police work and sometimes dark, troubled characters — not unlike previous NBC hits like “Hill Street Blues.”

That apparently became an issue for NBC: several network executives have said that they do not believe darker shows can be successful on network television right now. Oddly, NBC’s production studio, Universal Television, produces one of television’s biggest hits, the drama “House,” for the Fox network, and it has explored some of the darkest themes on television in recent years, including drug addiction and mental illness. Last year, one of the show’s main characters committed suicide. Ratings have been up for the show this season.

John Wells, the highly successful executive producer of NBC’s biggest 10 p.m. hit ever, “ER,” brought the network “Southland” last spring. He said in a statement:

“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.”

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1 Response to “*sigh*”


  1. 1 Brian Ferguson
    October 22, 2009 at 6:54 am

    This makes me so mad, all of the good shows never get a chance to build an audience. Besides Leno has done so well at 10 pm – not! The affiliates are upset about the lack of a strong lead in to the 11 o’clock news. I used to work at a NBC station I bet the station people are biting their nails when they dump good shows for 5 days a week of Leno. I really like Jay worked with him once and he was a total pro, but I can’t watch 2 late night style shows in one evening.


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