Southland Axed Before Premiere

Though dismissed early on as “The Shield”-lite, NBC’s ensemble cop drama “Southland” premiered in April to good reviews and a strong debut audience of 9.6 million for its first two episodes.

The ratings however slid after that to a 6.5 million average, hitting as low as 4.6 million one week for the seven-episode first season. The drop-off was steep, but the network decided to let the producers shoot a second season of thirteen episodes focusing more on Regina King and Benjamin McKenzie’s characters and the crimes they investigate.

Now however The LA Times reports that NBC has not just officially cancelled the show, they’ve pulled the second season from its October 23rd premiere date and will likely not even air the six episodes which were completed.

The reason? The content of those first few episodes were deemed too dark and gritty for broadcast TV, while the budget was considered too costly for a show on Friday night which is proving the most difficult night of the week to generate any ratings this season.

The producers aren’t giving up though and planning to shop the series around to broadcast and cable networks.