The cable network took the unusual step Tuesday (Nov. 1) of announcing it wouldn't pick up "Over There," about a squad of inexperienced soldiers in Iraq. Typically networks don't choose to draw attention to shows that are being cancelled.
In explaining the cancellation FX chief John Landgraf takes pains to note that the "beautifully produced, acted, written and directed" show was axed solely due to the realities of the TV business, not for any creative reasons.
"That decision was motivated entirely by 'Over There's' ratings performance and our belief that the numbers were reflective of what the show is about, rather than its quality or entertainment value," Landgraf says. "While are passionately committed to fostering great television, we are an advertiser-supported network, and the size of our audience is vital to our bottom line."
"Over There" averaged 2.1 million viewers over its 13-week run, well below the levels of its other drama series. "Rescue Me" drew 2.8 million viewers per week this summer, while "The Shield" and "Nip/Tuck" each bring in more than 3 million.
After starting strong with an audience of 4.1 million people for its premiere, "Over There" dipped in subsequent weeks. It took a further hit over its final four episodes, when it aired opposite new episodes of highly rated broadcast-network shows like "CSI: NY" and "Law & Order"; during those four weeks it averaged only 1.6 million viewers.
Chris Gerolmo and Steven Bochco created "Over There," which was the first TV series to dramatize a war that was still going on while it aired. Landgraf also has kind words for them and "their immensely talented and dedicated team of collaborators, whose artistry was reflected in each episode."