If you’ve been following the ratings and cancellation predictions, you’ve known that the Jason Lee sitcom had been “on the bubble” for a few months.
Last week, NBC announced that they weren’t going to pick up My Name Is Earl for a fifth year. Interestingly, the show’s creator found out about the cancellation just 30 minutes before the network released its schedule.
Greg Garcia told the LA Times, “They woke me up at 7:30 to let me know. I e-mailed Jeff Zucker [president and chief executive of NBC Universal] on Sunday, and I never got a response. But this is show business. The writing was on the wall. When you go to bed the night before the schedule is out, and no one has spoken to you, you know what’s happening. You get somewhat frustrated with how it’s being handled, but that’s the business we work in. I’ve never fooled myself that it’s a fair or friendly business.”
To add insult to injury, during a conference call with reporters, Ben Silverman dissed both Earl and also-cancelled Medium. The co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios said that the network decided to cancel the series because neither the fans nor the advertisers had waged a campaign to save them — unlike the outpouring of support for Chuck.
Garcia took it in stride, responding, “If that’s how they’re running their network, good luck to them… I don’t believe that for one second, but if that’s true, if that’s how they’re deciding what shows to pick up, wow.” Garcia also noted, “It’s hard to be too upset about being thrown off the Titanic,” referring to NBC’s ongoing ratings struggles.
Though NBC cancelled it, Lee has said that he’d like to continue doing the show. Garcia and the show’s studio, 20th Century Fox Television, agreed to try to sell Earl to another network. Both FOX and ABC have been interested in the past and TBS, who airs the show in syndication, also expressed said they’d be open to picking it up (presumably with a lower budget).
Having already sold the show into syndication, finding a way to add to the episode count makes sense financially. Garcia notes, “There’s a lot of reasons the show would work well on another network, and I think we’d do very well with some promotion. We certainly feel like we have more stories to tell. That’s why we left the show on season four on a cliffhanger. And I know we’ve got at least another season in us and a lot of great ideas. So if another network wants to put us on, fantastic. Nothing that would make me happier.”
Since 20th Century Fox Television produces the show, it was assumed that FOX would most likely pick it up. Still, the odds of one network taking another network’s cast-offs are never very good and FOX execs downplayed the possibility. After all, the network has already committed other sitcoms, including the low-rated ‘Til Death.
The possibility of the show continuing was apparently put to rest over the weekend. Ethan Suplee, the actor who plays Randy on the show, broke the cancellation news to fans via Twitter last week. On Saturday, he communicated that the show was indeed over.
He wrote, “Thanks for the effort guys, we appreciate it. It seems that Earl is actually dead. Fox has passed. The mustache will live on in our hearts.”
There’s no word on the state of other prospects for the sitcom but it sounds like the show is over.
Are you disappointed or had Earl already overstayed his welcome? Should an ending be filmed to wrap everything up?
Image courtesy NBC.