This Week in TV:
AMC renews Hell on Wheels for a fifth and final season; Robert Kirkman's new horror project Outcast lands Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous) as its lead; novelist Craig Johnson reveals A&E's reasoning behind Longmire's cancellation; ABC cancels freshman comedy Selfie; FOX axes reality show Utopia; and USA renews Royal Pains for two additional seasons.
AMC delivered some bittersweet news to fans of its post-Civil War drama Hell on Wheels by announcing a season 5 renewal and that the new season will be the show's last.
Like it did with Breaking Bad and Mad Men, the network will split the final season of Hell on Wheels into two parts - each consisting of seven episodes. The first run of seven is set to air next summer and the final batch of episodes will debut in the summer of 2016.
While not always a top performer for AMC, Hell on Wheels has maintained a steady and solid viewership through season 4, scoring an average of 3.4 million viewers every Saturday, which is often regarded as the most challenging night in TV. The series has also become a top-20 ad-supported cable drama during its current season, and its social media channels have enjoyed a surge in popularity as well.
Here's what AMC President Charlie Collier had to say about the show's final renewal:
“With season five of ‘Hell on Wheels,’ we are proud to bring our trans-continental journey to conclusion for the large, loyal audience that has traveled with Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) and his crew for so many years. We look forward to appropriately honoring ‘Hell on Wheels’ in this final season. Enormous thanks to the terrific writers, cast and crew for all they have achieved and for all that lies ahead in the Wild West.”
Season 4 of Hell on Wheels continues next Saturday, with the finale set to air on November 23rd @9pm on AMC.
Based on Kirkman and artist Paul Azaceta's comic book series of the same name that debuted this summer, Outcast centers on a young man named Kyle Barnes (Fugit) who's been plagued by demonic possession since childhood. As he embarks on a search for answers, he uncovers a much larger secret that could end all life on Earth as we know it. Alongside Fugit, the series will star Philip Glenister (Life on Mars) as an alcoholic preacher who believes he's a soldier in God's war against evil, and Gabriel Bateman (Annabelle) as an 8-year-old boy who, like Kyle, has experienced possession.
Kirkman penned the pilot - which will be directed by You're Next and The Guest helmer Adam Wingard - and sold the project on spec to Cinemax this time last year. If the show is ordered to series, it's unclear how involved Kirkman will remain, considering his duties as an executive producer on The Walking Dead, and of course, as the writer and co-creator of the comic books from which his TV shows are based.
We'll pass along the latest on Outcast and let you know if Cinemax orders the project to series.
A&E's sudden cancellation of Longmire earlier this year shocked and confused many of its fans, as well as others in the entertainment industry. Fortunately for the bewildered, Craig Johnson - author of the popular mystery novels from which the show is based - revealed A&E's reasoning behind the decision and offered an update on a potential revival with another network.
Like many, it's still difficult for Johnson to fully understand why the network would abruptly cancel its highest-rated scripted series, but the reasons he was given included an effort to scale back A&E's scripted offerings and that the show's demographics skewed toward older age groups while the network aimed to capture younger viewers.
Considering these reasons laughable, Johnson believes the show was actually axed when A&E was denied the opportunity to own the show outright and realized it would have to continue to pay licensing fees to Warner Horizon throughout the show's run, saying:
"When they were told no on that, they chose to cancel the show. Seems like a no-brainer to keep the show going anyway, but I don't think I will ever understand that."
On the bright side, Johnson, like Longmire star Lou Diamond Phillips, believes that the show could find another home as the producers and Warner Horizon continue to shop the series to other networks. Said Johnson:
"I expect to hear something about it by Christmas, which should actually work out pretty well. That would make a great present for the fans and the state of Wyoming, I think."
We'll let you know if Longmire season 4 lands somewhere else.
Source: Wyoming Tribune Eagle
ABC canceled its freshman comedy Selfie by opting not to order any additional episodes of the series following its initial commitment of 13.
Despite featuring two likeable leads in Karen Gillan and John Cho, the series didn't have enough charm to delight critics. More importantly, however, the show failed to draw in the young crowd it was obviously targeting, scoring a meager 1.5 Nielsen rating among adults 18-49 and an average of 4.7 million viewers overall (not particularly strong, especially for a network comedy).
The cancellation marks the second straight disappointment for creator Emily Kapnek, who also saw ABC cancel her comedy Suburgatory earlier this year.
For those still tuning into Selfie, the show's first (and now final) season continues Tuesday, November 11 @8pm on ABC with episode 7: "Landline."
Selfie wasn't the only new show receiving bad news this week, as FOX axed its rookie reality series Utopia.
Billed as a social experiment that attempted to build a perfect society with 15 strangers over the course of a year, Utopia lasted only two months on the air as a lack of viewership proved that the show's ambitious concept was not enough to garner sustained interest. After scoring a paltry 0.8 rating among adults 18-49 during its first six episodes, Utopia was shipped from its original Tuesday slot to Fridays, where it fared even worse.
Unlike with Selfie, Utopia will not be allowed to finish out its season. Starting this Friday, repeats of MasterChef Junior will take its place in the 8 pm timeslot.
The USA Network renewed Royal Pains for seasons 7 and 8.
The additional seasons of the medical comedy/drama will only consist of eight episodes each, but the smaller order doesn't indicate a lack of confidence from the network in the veteran show, at least according to USA President Chris McCumber, who said:
"'Royal Pains' remains a staple for fun summer TV viewing, and we are pleased to bring back the series for two additional seasons. We're extremely proud of both the talent and creative team, who, season after season, have brought to life to these relatable and multifaceted stories, which continue to attract a loyal fan base."
The series - which will celebrate its 100th episode during season 8 - has remained strong for the network, pulling in an average of 3.36 million viewers per episode.
There is no premiere date yet for Royal Pains season 7, but expect to see it on USA in 2015.
Source: USA Today