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Bad News for ''Over There'' Fans

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 1, 2005

2006 UPDATE: Yes, ''Over There'' is still canceled. And thank you to all the readers who have posted comments about the show. You may also want to look at the January posts on this blog, which include one about where ''Over There'' could have gone if it had been picked up for a second season, and who might have killed Lt. Underpants.

In announcing the end of ''Over There,'' its acclaimed Iraq war drama, FX went to some lengths to explain its decision. Here's how it went:

FX will not renew Over There for a second season based on the series' ratings performance over its 13-epsiode run. (Please see ratings information below).

Statement from John Landgraf, President and General Manager of FX Networks
"I'm deeply proud of Over There, which was beautifully produced, acted, written and directed. The series was arguably the most critically acclaimed new television show of the year, a fact which made the decision not to renew it all the more difficult. 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. 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.

"It was a deeply gratifying experience for everyone at FX to work with Steven Bochco, Chris Gerolmo and their immensely talented and dedicated team of collaborators, whose artistry was reflected in each episode."


  • For its 13-week run (Wednesdays, 10 PM ET/PT), Over There averaged 2.1 million total viewers and 1.3 million Adults 18-49.

  • Over There enjoyed a very strong premiere with 4.1 million total viewers and 2.4 million Adults 18-49.

  • Over There leveled off to an average of 2.1 million viewers and 1.3 million Adults 18-49 for episodes 2-9.

  • Over There then began a steady decline, eventually bottoming out at 1.35 million viewers and 882,000 for the season finale.

  • Over its final four episodes, Over There averaged 1.6 million total viewers and 990,000 Adults 18-49.

  • In comparison to FX's other drama series (most recent/current season):

       Nip/Tuck is averaging 4.1 million total viewers and 2.9 million Adults 18-49 (#1 in basic cable on A18-49)
       The Shield averaged 3.2 million total viewers and 2.0 million Adults 18-49
       Rescue Me averaged 2.8 million total viewers and 1.8 million Adults 18-49

(End FX material)

That's a very long way of saying it wasn't politics that killed the show, it was a lack of audience enthusiasm. And I feel a little guilty about not paying closer attention; I don't have a Nielsen box, but if I had watched more, I might have written more about ''Over There,'' and maybe someone with a Nielsen box would have tuned in.

And I very much liked ''Over There'' in the early going; the first episode had problems but by the third, you could see a show that was worth the time and effort. Still, somewhere along the way, I stopped watching.I would DVR it, and set aside the review discs that came in. My wife was watching every episode, and loving them, and insisting to me that ''you really should be watching this.'' But somehow there was always something else to fill my time.

In that way, ''Over There'' was my ''Carnivale,'' another high-quality show that many people just decided not to watch. When the days and nights are full of obligations, including TV shows, sometimes a really good one gets lost.

But my wife is going to be really ticked.

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