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?

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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. R D says

    LOM was a great show!! time slot and delay continuation doomed this series….. PLEASE some other network pick it up ….from b 4 the finale and show them how it’s done.

  2. TG says

    The UK series was brilliant, and probably one of my favorite tv series ever. I was completely taken aback when I heard of the remake, even if it had Harvey Keitel.
    Watch the British series. It is fantastic and will blow your mind.

  3. bonnie scheere says

    Great show. Name of show may have kept viewers away as it sounded like a si fi with space travel. Great acting, music and historical content. i wish the network could have given it a chance. Remember Seinfield didn’t do well the first year.

  4. Don Ross says

    Some say, the keepers of American foolishness, by knee-jerk reaction, felt the series was to “deep” for American grazers to understand.
    I hope these fools are wrong.

  5. says

    This is typical of ABC recently; good shows that the execs think are not doing well based on a time horizon that does not include how many people use TIVO or watch the shows online. Hey ABC, America has a life and we are not glued to our TVs, we enjoy watching shows without the commercials!!!!! No wait, I guess we can’t enjoy watching them becasue they are cancelled so you can put crap like dirty sexy money on, later to be cancelled because it was really crap……………..

  6. NOOK says

    The US remake was a terrible, terrible piece of television. I’ve seen a lot of GREAT US shows getting canceled (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, for example) but LoM US really deserved it. I can only tell people to import the UK version, it’s simply brilliant, even if you’re not british (I’m german, I live in Germany).

  7. Rachel says

    They should have stuck with the original ending from the BBC series. I actually found the US version very entertaining except all the god/heaven/hell stuff and the miserable ending.

  8. says

    My wife,and I followed this series from episode 1 ,until the finale.We’re very disappoi-
    nted about ABC’s cancellation of “Life on Mars,”.This series required an imagination to
    write,act,and watch.Broadcast executives lack these qualities immensly,their only con-
    cern is to stuff our program listing with mindless reality shows,this must be their reality

  9. Bob says

    How stupid are you people! Did you work for COKE back when they felt it should taste different? Some corp. lessons are never learned. But keep patting yourself on the back and, oh hey maybe you could have yet another show on dancing… Call it, dancing with executive numbskulls.

  10. Daniel says

    I don’t mind the idea of a good show being canceled if the finale draws some kind of real closure. The ending made no sense. All through the show, we were led to believe that he was in a coma caused by being hit by a car. He constantly has glimpses of the world he is trying to get back to and is even being contacted with clues by some one or some thing that he believes will help him get back. A very thick plot ends like a balloon being popped. I mean, come on. We are supposed to believe he is an astronaunt? And what’s with his shoe and pant leg at the end? It felt like the whole story had not been told and that he still wasn’t home. Like getting to the end of a novel and realizing that the last pages had been torn out. Very, very disappointing!

  11. alice boone says

    I am sick of becoming involved in a tv series, only to have it cancelled. What has tv become? I loved this show. I also loved Men in Trees & looked forward to it every week, then it got cancelled. It does It seems like there is so much crap on tv now, with all of the stupid reality shows. It makes me not want to watch any tv series anymore. I get to know the characters pretty well, and then it’s like they all die off.

  12. kim says

    I want to know if Network exc. actually have eyes or ears! Can’t they see an amazing show like “LIFE ON MARS” and can’t they hear we want it back, NOW!

    what’s up with you network exc at ABC, you take away some of the past shows out there like Mars and Elli Stone….

    I truly look forward to both shows and now nothing……this season sucks, you hear me, IT SUCKS, if you could see me, you’d see what finger gestures I was using too!

  13. MJM says

    I’ve been waiting for the premier of Life on Mars and Eli Stone the past month, never occurred to me that these two great shows would have been cancelled. Am ticked off; those ridiculous “reality” shows are the one that should be axed.

  14. Ejb5oh says

    What a complete dissappointment ABC. at least try to sell the show to another tv agency or something. I hate reality shows for the most part and don’t watch much tv, but Life on Mars was one shoe I never skipped a beat on.

    Please, Fox, FX, CBS or some other major tv station pick up this very fine show. Such a lost for good tv.

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