Although creator Sam Shaw already had a third season planned, WGN America cancelled the Manhattan TV series, after its second season. Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, back in November, Shaw said he crafted season two of Manhattan, with an eye toward some resolution, in case of cancellation.
Upon cancelling the historical drama which starred John Benjamin Hickey and Olivia Williams, WGN America President Matt Cherniss issued a statement citing the usual culprit — low ratings. Still feeling the sting of the end of the critically-acclaimed Manhattan, Cherniss has now offered more insight into the decision he tried to avoid.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Cherniss said he did everything he could to give Manhattan some momentum in the ratings and build up an audience. Among the steps he took were moving the show to the fall, when more viewers are watching, and moving it from Sunday nights to a less competitive spot. He even tweaked the ad campaign. In the end, it just was not enough.
“As we got to mid-season of season two, reality for me had started to set in that it was going to be very difficult to bring the show back for a third season,” Cherniss says, acknowledging at that point it simply didn’t “make economic sense” to move forward. He knows it would be easy to chalk up the paltry turnout to the stresses of “peak TV,” but he has watched as WGN’s other originals delivered considerably more viewers: Witch drama Salem drew 770,000 viewers in its second season, while new entry Outsiders shattered network records with 3.9 million watching its Jan. 26 premiere. […]
“When you’re starting a network and building a brand, you’re looking for reasons to pick up a show, not the opposite,” he adds. “But at some point, you have to see some momentum.”
Were you a fan of the Manhattan TV show? Do you think WGN America was right to cancel it after season two, or should it have been renewed for a third season? Do you feel like you got some closure in Manhattan‘s second season i.e. series finale? Sound off, in the comments.