NBC on Thursday canceled Southland , the TV drama that replaced long-running E.R. on its Thursday-night schedule last season. Today's (Friday) New York Times reported that six new episodes of the series had already been produced for the new season but decided to drop the season before its planned season debut on Oct. 23. The Wall Street Journal reported that after NBC executives screened the episodes, they concluded that "the show's content was deemed too dark and gritty for broadcast TV, especially for 9 00 p.m." (NBC is devoting its 10 00 p.m. hour on week days to the Jay Leno Show and has shown no sign of willingness at present to cut back on the number of Leno's nightly telecasts.) The New York Times noted that "several network executives have said that they do not believe darker shows can be successful on network television right now." However, the newspaper noted, corporate sibling Universal Television produces one of TV's biggest hits, Fox TV's House , "and it has explored some of the darkest themes on television in recent years." Meanwhile, John Wells, who exec produced E.R. as well as Southland , issued a statement saying that he was disappointed in NBC's decision and that he is "actively looking for another home for the series."

09/10/2009