Deadwood: An Update on the Reasons Why

HBO Deadwood series cancelledAs reported previously, Deadwood will come to an end after the wild-western’s third season (which starts airing on June 11, 2006). Though the series was not officially cancelled, the series’ cast options were not picked up, leaving the actors free to pursue other projects. If new Deadwood episodes were commissioned at a later time, it’s unlikely that all of the large number of cast-members would be available to participate.

The news upset and confused legions of fans of the unique HBO drama. A passionate “save our show” campaign has begun (for details visit which includes the suggestion that HBO subscribers cancel their paid subscriptions following the airing of the last episode of the third season. Contributions are also being accepted to pay for “open letter” ads in editions of Variety.

Deadwood series creator David Milch has said, “I am deeply disappointed by the way things turned out. (HBO) felt like they had to make a choice, and this is how they chose. I know they tried to work it out, and I tried to work it out with them.” It’s been confirmed that HBO offered to greenlight a small six-episode order of the groundbreaking drama but Milch, who has had bad experiences with so-called “short-order renewals,” rejected the offer. “For my part, I did not want to accept a short order. We couldn’t have done the work the way we wanted. I didn’t want to limp home. My old man used to say, ‘Never go anyplace where you’re only tolerated,'” relates Milch. One source has reported that Milch had already plotted the fourth (presumed final) season episodes.

So in essence, the reason for Deadwood’s ending seems to be a financial one. Milch is working on a new series for HBO (John from Cincinnati) and, due to that commitment, HBO didn’t believe that he would be able to return to Deadwood for quite awhile, delaying the possible start of a Deadwood season four. Deadwood is an expensive show to shoot and it’s assumed that the cable channel didn’t want to (or couldn’t afford to) pay the actor salaries for months while they waited for production to begin.

Creator Milch is reportedly doing his part in an attempt to save his series. He’s reportedly looking into possible tie-ins with casinos and theme parks as well as with the real Deadwood community. “I’m doing what I can,” Milch says. “Any financial participation could take the pressure off.”

HBO Chairman and Chief Executive Chris Albrecht has noted, “Not having a fourth season of Deadwood is not the result anyone wanted.” Fans and David Milch would agree and are making sure that HBO knows it. TV Series Finale home page

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89 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Anthony says

    I just finished watching all three seasons and still cannot believe HBO let it end the way it did. I know it must be incredibly expensive and complicated to produce a show such as Deadwood but it’s not like HBO is a charity. Maybe Netflix can come to the rescue and produce a suitable conclusion to the series?

  2. Day Jackson says

    We needed a closure instead of a void. Please get Oliphant and crew since Justified is done. I dropped Hbo but would get it back. Hate game of thrones without watching it. Went to Deadwood several times and will go back to see the cemetery there. Would be a Win-win

  3. lahash says

    That is a shame, I just watched the series, and searched for the fourth season. Because all the 3rd season is a lead up to.. too nothing. It was a major let down, the only true enjoyment I found was in the first season.

  4. Bazza says

    Great series shame about the ending. Constantine – if HBO pulls the plug on GoT then you could at least read the book, now there’s a thought… If someone wrote the ending to Deadwood I would certainly buy it, come on you authors get writing.

  5. Anonymous says

    Best outcome would be a Deadwood Movie, to let us know how it all turned out….Maybe after Olyphant’s finished with ‘Justified’. So many of the cast of ‘Deadwood’ is in either ‘Justified’, ‘Sons of Anarchy’ or ‘The Shield’, that they’ve become like old friends. I miss them.

  6. johhnycomelately says

    i watched it all only now becoz thats how i roll. its just tragic the when and why this series ended. now with some years past since its demise the folly is not lessened perhaps even made more so. will they kill off “hell on wheels” the same way? frankly i am traumatized and wish i had not watched it at all….no wait thats not troo i adored this and am glad i got what i got…no i wish…nevermind…it may be i have been head kicked by a horse and need the Doc

    • Constantine says

      I had never heard of Deadwood before. A friend told me that every time he watched the series, it made him want to play Red Dead Redemption. Being familiar with the game, I thought to myself: “maybe I should give it a try”. I was absolutely mesmerized. The way the characters evolve, the pure quality of the actors, the scenery.
      I just finished watching season 3. I am disappointed. It’s not that, in the end, “evil” wins. Nope. I could live with that. In fact, considering how close to reality “Deadwood” is portrayed, any other outcome would probably make me feel fooled. The problem is that it simply does not end. I’m not talking about some kind of “happily ever after” ending. My only quarrel with it is that Season 3 was not meant to be the last one. The build-up to it’s final moments is, at the very last, a let down. As Al would say, forgive my french, but it was pretty much as a f@cking without c#mming.
      In the end, it’s a shame. Networks keep wondering how come they keep losing audience to the Internet or to the PirateBays and so on. Well, I can tell you one reason, one’s not treated like an ignorant stupid “Richardson” on the www. All I can say, in the end, is abandon all hope ye whom have been watching Game of Thrones – do you believe HBO, or any other network for that mather, is going to keep a show, as expensive as this one, for, at least, seven seasons? Well, I do not. C@cksuckers.

      • SnookieJ says

        Excellent comment….I feel the same way! Stupid C@cksuckers. If they would have just given us one more season to feel validated and important enough to see this show through. We just got done watching all 3 seasons the last week and a half, and were so sad it ended where it did. Best cast hands down, and I think HBO did an injustice to us for not giving us closure. Oh well…..guess we leave it up to our own imaginations. Stupid C@cksuckers!

        • Anonymous says

          HBO, you’re a ******* **********!
          People get tired of investing themselves and their time into shows that are just CANCELED on a whim with no regard to OUR investment, it’s not just about money. It’s also about respect. Respect the fans by doing RIGHT by them and give the show a proper ending!

  7. Scott from the couv says

    I started watching Deadwood when it first came out and was unable to finish due to a cable situation. However, was able to resume and finish this awesome series. Wow, what chemistry these people have, from the top to the bottom. I couldn’t be more disappointed in its fate. Thanks David for what you were able to give us. I am from Chamberlain, South Dakota and I can’t wait to visit Deadwood for the first time.

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