NBC cancels cop show "Southland"

Thu Oct 8, 2009 7:55pm EDT

Actor Benjamin McKenzie arrives for the premiere of ''88 Minutes'' at the Planet Hollywood hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 16, 2008. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

Actor Benjamin McKenzie arrives for the premiere of ''88 Minutes'' at the Planet Hollywood hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 16, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Steve Marcus

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - It's the end of the road for NBC's cop drama "Southland," which has been canceled before the launch of its second season.

Although supportive of the show, NBC brass considered the six episodes produced for the new season to be too dark and gritty for broadcast TV -- especially now that the network's 10 p.m. week-night dramas must air an hour earlier to accommodate "The Jay Leno Show."

"Southland" was originally slated to debut in its new Friday 9 p.m. time slot last month. But NBC decided to push the start to October 23 and air "Dateline NBC" in the meantime. It is not clear when the six produced episodes will air.

"Southland" got off to a good start when it premiered in midseason in the Thursday 10 p.m. time period, succeeding NBC's long-running medical drama, "ER." But despite solid reviews, the series suffered ratings erosion.

It hasn't been a good start for NBC's scripted dramas this fall, with rookies "Trauma" and "Mercy" struggling along with most of the returning veterans, including "Heroes" and "Law & Order: SVU," which is still settling into its new Wednesday 9 p.m. slot.

There is a possibility that "Southland" could be shopped to cable networks. The cancellation of "Southland" ends (for now) a long relationship between NBC and executive producer John Wells, the man behind such hits as "ER" and "The West Wing."

(Editing by DGoodman at Reuters)

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