As 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 SaveDeadwood.net) 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.