The cancellation of Kelsey Grammer's Starz political drama Boss comes as no real surprise. Though the series showed huge promise early on and Grammer demonstrated his undeniable acting talent, it never had the numbers to support the critical praise. According to the Los Angeles Times, its premiere brought in 659,000, though the second season averaged under 580,000. The numbers were underwhelming and - unfortunately for Grammer - the powers that be in U.S. television do not like underwhelming.
Of course, Grammer knows everything there is to know about the cut-throat business. It makes the Hollywood movie industry look positively welcoming. If your show doesn't pull in the numbers, then its goodnight Vienna. There has been the odd exception, with television executives keeping faith with the likes of The Wire, HBO's drama that received poor Nielsen ratings though is now considered to be the greatest television show of all time. Grammer's Boss actually shared similarities with David Simon's series - corrupt politics and financial malpractice - though it wasn't The Wire, it definitely wasn't The Wire. The Starz network said in a statement, "After much deliberation, we have made the difficult decision to not proceed with Boss.We remain proud of this award-winning show, its exceptional cast and writers, and are grateful to Kelsey Grammer, [creator] Farhad Safinia and our partners at Lionsgate TV."
As mentioned, Grammer knows the ways of American television all too well and the latest cancellation won't have surprised him. Since his multi-award winning magnum opus Frasier came to an end in 2004, the actor has worked hard to find his next major project, though he's still waiting. In 2007, he signed on to star opposite Patricia Heaton in Back To You, a sitcom based on the squabbling anchors of a news program. It was cancelled after one season.
Next came something even worse: Hank. A name that no doubt still sends shivers down the spine of Grammer and all of his followers. The ABC comedy followed a Wall Street executive who lost his job and attempted to reconnect with his small-town family. The New York Post panned the show, saying, "Hank is one of the worst new (or old) comedies of this or many other seasons," and the network cancelled it with five episodes left unaired. The actor probably wasn't that bothered, being quoted as saying afterwards, "Honestly, it just wasn't very funny."
So, despite his Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Television Series Drama, Boss is Grammer's latest television failure. Will he ever make a show as successful as Frasier?