According to the Hollywood Insider, NBC has halted production on Outlaw, the new Jimmy Smits legal drama. The network has only aired three episodes and already they are getting ready to toss the show. Sure, we’ll get to see the three additional episodes that have already been shot, but why? NBC is clearly setting this show up for failure. Complaining of less than stellar ratings, NBC is not taking responsibility for airing the show in the dead zone of Friday night television. Well, at least it fared better than Fox’s Lone Star, which aired twice before being axed while fans screamed, “Foul!”
This is another in a long line of shows canceled too soon. NBC also canceled Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip while other networks have gotten us involved in their shows only to pull the plug and leave us hanging. Remember Invasion?
Do the networks not understand that they are creating their own troubles? Think about it. The more shows the networks cancel after just a few episodes, the more reluctant we viewers are to invest in a new show. We are tired of getting emotionally involved in the characters of a show only to have the rug pulled out from under us. It’s turning into a vicious greed cycle with network executives quick to pull the cancellation or hiatus trigger on shows before they can generate an audience.
It seems like any reality TV series can get a green light as well as the network’s full backing, but thoughtful shows – not so much.
NBC is also airing the pulse-pounding thrill ride show, The Event. Let’s hope NBC doesn’t cancel that one before we find out what’s going on.
There is a modicum of hope – remember, NBC almost canceled Friday Night Lights in 2007, but mercifully left it on the air to the collective sigh of relief of its many fans. Perhaps NBC will give Outlaw the chance it deserves. On the other hand, perhaps Jimmy Smits will find a television vehicle worthy of him. Outlaw‘s premise of a Supreme Court justice quitting to return to trial law is a bit shaky and while Smit’s show Cane (2007) showed great promise, the writer’s strike doomed it from the beginning. Jimmy Smits is a very likable actor, and still garners audience goodwill from his turns on L.A. Law and The West Wing. Let’s give him something to do. Smits could really shake things up if he were cast on The Good Wife.