Life on Mars: ABC TV Show Cancelled, No Season Two

Life on MarsTo no great surprise, ABC has opted not to order a second season of their Wednesday night drama, Life on Mars. The show was one of the most anticipated of the season. So, what happened? Will viewers be left hanging or will the show’s mysteries be resolved?

A remake of a UK show of the same name, Life on Mars follows Sam Tyler (Jason O’Mara) , a modern-day NYPD detective who’s investigating the abduction of his girlfriend (Lisa Bonet) by a serial killer. After being hit by a speeding car, Tyler wakes up in 1973. While trying to figure out what’s happened to him, he ends up becoming part of his precinct in the past. Is he in a coma, insane, or a true time traveler? The stand-out cast includes Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, Harvey Keitel, Jonathan Murphy, Dominick Mancino, John Cenatiempo, Chris Miskiewicz, Tom Stratford, Matthew Cowles, and Tanya Fischer.

The series debuted on October 9, 2008 to a solid 11.33 million viewers and a 3.8/10 rating/share in the 18-49 demographic. Unfortunately, the numbers fell significantly in the second week, to 8.22 million and a 2.5/7 — a loss of 25% of the total audience. The ratings for the next five episodes averaged just eight million, sinking to a low of 7.77 million and a 2.5/7 rating/share on November 20th.

Mars then went on a two month hiatus, which is essentially like a death sentence for any serial drama. As expected, when the series returned at the end of January, following Lost, the numbers got even worse. For the past four weeks, Mars has been averaging a terrible 5.5 million viewers, hitting a low of 4.63 million and a 1.6/4 rating/share.

How did Tyler get to 1973?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

As expected, ABC has decided to cancel the series at the end of its 17 episode season. On the positive side, it’s being reported that the producers have time to make that last episode an actual series finale. Though there are many outstanding questions that need to be answered, it looks like most of them will be answered. ABC Entertainment Group President Steve McPherson told TVWeek, “We felt it was the right thing to do for the producers and the fans and creatively.”

Of course, whether ABC actually gets around to airing the episode remains to be seen. Considering that fans are still waiting to see the final episodes of Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, and Pushing Daisies, the network’s track record isn’t so good.

For now, the plan is to continue airing the series though the March sweeps period, with Mars finishing on April 1st. Let’s hope that actually happens and it isn’t some twisted April Fool’s joke from the network execs.

Canceled and renewed TV show

247 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Sabrina says

    I too am VERY disappointed that ABC has decided to cancel this GREAT SHOW. Like the others said, it was very different than anything on tv, and each episode kept me wanting more. I would watch it every week, and even record it when I couldn’t watch it on wed. nights. I waited for it to come back, until I just found out they decided to cancel the show. Bad move… Something should have been done to keep the show going!

  2. DBJ says

    I have no luck at all!!!! While I at work I always had my 3 shows that I looked forwarded to and now they were all cancelled; Life on Mars, Pushing Daisies and Life?! I guess all the boneheads out there have bad taste. At least ABC had enough imagination to get Scrubs of the the trash heap so I can thank them for being almost open minded.

  3. mark says

    another great show canceled. this show had a awsome story line with excelent actors. its a shame you keep the reality shows and dump a quality drama that was so original. i should of expected this, the networks do this to me every year. last year it was journey man, that show was great too.

  4. Victoria says

    I absolutely LOVED this show and did not realize that the last episode was the SERIES FINALE…..a friend of mine told me it was not coming back on….I’m PISSED! That was a GREAT show….and very creative. Every time I get into a series on ABC…they freaking cancel it….IE: Big Shots….I was pissed when that went off too!!!! UUGHHH! Im SO MAD RIGHT NOW!!!!

  5. says

    I missed the announcement Life on Mars was being cancelled. I kept waiting to see when it would start again. Its now Sept. 23. I realized last week that my favorite show, the one I loved, the one that kept me watching TV was not coming back. But I had to have proof so I came looking. Why, why, why do we keep losing wonderful shows (Pushing Daisies) while the idiotic, senseless, dont need a brain to watch reality shows keep going on and on and on. Along with the stupid unfunny sitcoms and the other trash on TV. Please, please bring back Life on Mars and Pushing Daisies. I beg of you!

  6. says

    I to am very dissapointed that you have cancel Life on mars. I never watched abc in the past, but with life on mars I was thinking maybe abc does have some good show . Now i see what the problem is with abc. They don’t know when they do have a excellect show like Life on Mars.

  7. Mary Anne D. Harrington says

    That’s two shows that ABC cancelled without warning. The first one is October Road, now Life on Mars. Why does ABC keep cancelling without resolving the show? It leaves loyal viewers very dissapointed. Meanwhile the networks are riddled with reality shows. Stop it already!!!!!!!!

  8. Lisa says

    My husband and I both loved the show and are very disappointed that it was cancelled. I don’t think ABC really gave it a chance. This show was well written, funny and clever. 8 million viewers want to see more! We want to visit with Sam every week and see how he’s making out in 1973. It was so great to see the clothing, decor and cars of the 70’s and to remember a time before cell phone, DNA testing and the internet.

  9. brian says

    ABC is the dumbest network ever. Life on mars is a great show me and my wife both waited to se the show every week. although we have to record it os dtv we still got to watch it. so to ABC and its idiotic managers UP YOURS with three fingers and one thumb folded down!!!

  10. A.S. says

    I’m very disapointed that the show was cancelled. I graduated in 1973 and the storylines were very clever and true to form for that decade. It was fun watching crimes being solved without the use of cell phones or laptops. Yeah, people had to use typewriters and liquid paper to correct mistakes. Also the music of the era was much better than anything we hear now. I think it was a mistake to cancel and I hope that the execs will smarten up and bring it back.

  11. John Johnson says

    Based upon 90 percent of prime-time ABC shows, who would not be more convinced that they had their heads up their collective asses when this show was cancelled. One of the few that I looked forward to watching every week.

  12. ann atherton says

    wow im very very disappointed to see an end to this show it seem like all that is on tv now are reality show date this person not that one lets get back to some real tv with great writers trifica cast this show had it all i would like to know the person who thinks no one is watching these shows

  13. Kris says

    I am very dissapointed that this show has been cancelled. I first stumbled upon this show by accident while channel surfing for something good to watch. Loved it from the first episode, but never saw an ad for the show or time. I rarley watch network tv, and now I remember why. I loved this show, It was super fun to watch and remember that it was not that long ago that we hit the computer age. I am very disappointed in the network!

  14. Ed Lane says

    Sooooooo disappointed this show got canceled. It was well written, had a good cast of characters, and great chemistry between the lead and his love interest. Very interesting concept as well – and what fun to re-visit the 70s. The studio should have been more patient. Many other good shows were poor in the ratings for the first year or two…cheers, seinfeld, conan just to name a few. Shame on them for canceling. 8 million viewers is a lot of viewers considering the advent of the Internet, on-demand options, etc. Can’t judge by figures that were relevant 10 years ago.

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.