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

Canceled and renewed TV show

89 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. andy says

    Great show!!Too bad it’s done. It’s refreshing too see character developement , plot inspiring …. and cancel . I understand sets are expensive and actors need to be paid. It’s just a sad tale to see it end… watched all 3 seasons in just over a week…. usually 3 episodes a night… money to be made.. we’ll never know. Great show and it’s done. More reruns of the muppet show,,, classic.

  2. George Hagarty says

    What an unmatchable repretoire cast. Just saw bonus discs
    for first time agree the set was another character. Had no idea at
    first viewing how much was historically accurate. I know this will
    never return, but I also know that HBO made a HUGE mistake
    prematurely cancelling this series. Even now 4 years later it would
    still be popular if left alone to proceed down the tv thorofare. I
    know the bean-counters did this, so i hope that HBO has seen its
    profits decline proportionally to its stupidity! I’ll never
    subscribe again, MoRoNS!

  3. Jae Marland says

    I recv’d DEADWOOD as christmas gift, watched all 3 seasons
    in 1 week. Much easier than 3 ‘seasons’. God I miss this show.
    Which HBO idiot canceled Deadwood?! Of course after HBO canceled
    Carnivale without notice, the Deadwood. I canceled HBO. What goes
    around comes around, and I have still not come back around to
    subscribing to HBO again. I agree with ‘sled’ comment, just stop
    subscribing & the sled will run downhill on its

  4. Ray says

    I was a fan of Deadwood since day one, I finaly got season 1 having 2,3 for sometime,now i’m almost done all three seasons in 2 days and it just brings me back to 06 how pissed off i was when this show(one of the best show ever) was not returning, i can’t believe HBO did not know what kind of asset they had, i hope HBO is going to be dragged down the thorofare on the “SLED” to see Mr Wu.

  5. scott price says

    Deadwood was my all time favorite show since Hill street blues. Wich I did not know until I was listening to the commentary ,was also written by David Milch. HBO has made a lifelong enemy of me.

  6. bio says

    Great series, wish it could have gone on longer, too. Here’s to hoping we get more Deadwood somewhere down the road. Nothing has come close to that, nor will, I trust.

  7. Rita says

    I am in the process of watching “Deadwood” season 3. Just finished Seasons 1 and 2.
    I am not sure why I didn’t watch it when it originally aired and for that shame on me.
    Not to have a 4th season was at best crazy on the past of HBO. I have come to realize that this show is some of the best television ever.

  8. Lisa says

    HBO – you are the biggest idiots in the universe. Deadwood was the best show ANY channel could of been privileged to have. What were you thinking? Oh that’s right, you apparently were NOT !! Without this show, your channel is not even worth watching. Do something smart – – – – – – – – – BRING IT BACK !!!

  9. Tammy says

    It’s 2010 and I am still waiting to at least see reruns. Deadwood was one of the best show going. Please invest on reruns. I would watch it over and over again. My husband and I really enjoyed sitting together and showing Deadwood no matter what time it was on. Would do the same, even at 3am .

  10. says

    I can’t believe HBO! I just now was able to catch up with Deadwood (four years later) and to find it was cancelled. I rented the seasons to catch up and thought it odd that there was no fourth season. I wondered with anticipation as to how the finale was going to turn out. I even bought some canned peaches. I don’t even know if a movie could justify the awesomeness of the series. I’m completely confuzzeled. Great! I have no closure and a half a can o peaches. Hey suck my peaches HBO!

  11. Mike says

    I’m with Agnes. Best F***ing, C**kS**er show I’ve seen for quite a while, fantastic cast and performances, ingenious plots and would love to see a conclused, brief as it may be to the whole story.

    This trend to leave good quality shows hanging in the air just makes me angry and less willing to commit to new shows every time it happens. I’d expect a quality channel like HBO to create some freaking trust account or financial security for any show before you start it to guarantee some closure even if the plug is pulled to satisfy audiences, or fork a short term loss in benefit of long term satisfied customers and repeat business.

    As Al Swearengen would “Mother!@#$ C**kSack3rs!!!”

  12. Jack says

    Wow!!! This is a real shame!
    I missed the last show and now to find out it is cancelled.
    HBO you guys are really making a big mistake!
    I hope I can at least get all the dvd’s?

  13. Agnes says

    I just watched the final episode of Deadwood as well. I just googled it to see when the new season was starting. I didn’t have HBO when it was originally shown. So, I thought this was a new show. I can’t believe it was cancelled. We are living through the worst case of trash t.v. to date. Deadwood was a ray of hope that quality was making a comeback. Shame on the people responsible for ending it.

  14. Tim says

    Just watched the last of deadwood. Great show! I’d like a final season. Truth be told Rome was just as good if not better. Think that show could use another season. John from Cincinatti, looked like a good idea but it really kind of sucked. Also “in treatment”? what rip off. Horribly boring. Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it should be made. I could have made a better show in my garage with film students. Haven’t really seen anything good out of HBO lately. I think HBO did groundbreaking work with Sopranos, the Wire, Deadwood, and Rome. Second to none. Now they are making garbage not worth watching. End of an era I guess.

Leave a Comment

Your comment may need approval from a moderator before it appears. We review comments to weed out spam, duplicate postings and personal attacks. We welcome constructive discussion.