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NBC announced Thursday that its recent drama Southland has been canceled after its first season. Southland started in the middle of last season after ER’s once coveted time slot. However, it was only along for the ride and could only endure so much. Southland was originally slated to return at a new time on Fridays 9/8 last month. Instead of airing it, NBC brass went ahead and aired Dateline instead.
The cancellation of Southland ends a long relationship between NBC and executive producer John Wells, who was behind such dramas as ER and The West Wing. This breakup could have further implications down the road. Right now, NBC needs to be in good standing with as many successful producers as they can. They need name recognition in order to bring back viewers to their shows.
NBC needs to start coming up with new ideas instead of the same old, ER-type medical dramas. Trauma and Mercy are in their first season and they too are struggling. Let’s create something new, maybe go in the direction of funny comedies. They seem to have that one on lockdown on Thursday nights. I guess they’re banking in all the Jay Leno fans because they’ve given him one hour every day of the week IN PRIMETIME. While this is great for Jay’s ego, this also just goes to show that NBC really doesn’t have that many quality shows out there. The Jay Leno show at 10/9 is just a band-aid for a cut to the jugular.
I didn’t watch any of Southland but there was no star power. When the most recognizable character is the dude from The O.C., you probably will have problems. It sucks for him but Benjamin McKenzie will also be forever linked to his role in the O.C.
After screening the show’s first four episodes of the second season, NBC deemed them too dark and inappropriate for a 9 pm time slot. This coming from the company with three Law & Orders where each story is messed up. When asked if they knew the cancellation was coming Michael Cudlitz responded, “In retrospect, I saw it coming. We were two weeks away from airing and news had created more press for the show than NBC has put into it on its own. They ran the first ad, a 30-second spot, last Friday, and that’s the only one that they ran. That’s not a relaunch. When you have a network that nobody’s watching, it doesn’t benefit you to only advertise on your network.” It makes a viewer think how NBC is being run and who is running it. All these decisions like making unoriginal dramas and bringing back Jay Leno for five hours per week are highly questionable.
In so many words, Southland is just a microcosm of the problems NBC is having. Their flat, boring programming (excluding Thursdays) have turned viewers away, as well as their inability to promote new shows. Southland today, I’d say Trauma and Mercy actors might not want to buy property in the LA area. They might be moving home real soon if this keeps up.