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Past Life: Struggling FOX TV Show Cancelled after Three Episodes

Past Life canceled on FOXFor a show about past lives and reincarnation, FOX’s show has certainly had a very short lifespan. With poor ratings and reviews, the network has cancelled Past Life after three episodes.

Inspired by the book, Reincarnationist by M.J. Rose, Past Life revolves around past-life detectives who try to discover if a person’s problems and visions stem from traumatic events in a former life. The series stars Kelli Giddish, Nicholas Bishop, Ravi Patel, and Richard Schiff.

FOX had originally ordered 13 episodes of Past Life but, in mid-October, cut that to just seven installments. The official reason given was that the network had a plethora of mid-season programming but the move sure wasn’t a sign of confidence for the project.

The TV series got off to a poor start with a special showing on Tuesday, February 9th. Past Life averaged 8.32 million viewers and a 2.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic. Those numbers aren’t bad on their own but they do represent a loss of about 70% of the American Idol lead-in audience. What’s more, a significant number of people stopped watching before the Past Life episode had finished. An average of 9.6 million were watching the first half hour but only 7.14 million watched the second half.

Should Past Life have been cancelled?

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A couple days later, Past Life debuted in its regular Thursday night timeslot. Predictably, it was pummeled by the competition. It came in at fourth place in its timeslot with just 5.3 million viewers and a terrible 1.4 in the demo.

Last night’s episode was even worse. Per the overnight ratings, Past Life registered just 3.9 million viewers and a 1.1 in the 18-49 demographic. That’s particularly disappointing when you consider that most of the other networks were in repeats.

American Idol will be expanding to Thursday nights for the next three weeks and run at 8pm. Rather than give more time to a sinking ship, FOX execs have decided to pull Past Life and replace the drama with episodes of Kitchen Nightmares.

Nightmares will continue to air on Friday nights but those episodes will be repeats. On April 1st, original episodes of Bones and Fringe will take over on Thursdays. New episodes of Nightmares will then resume on Fridays.

TV show supportThe network says that the remaining four episodes of Past Life will surface at some point in the season but, given their overflow of successful programming, that doesn’t seem all that likely.

It would seem that the Past Life cancellation was decided either late last night or very early this morning. The “masked scheduler” tweeted, “Drove on to the lot and the Past Life poster was being torn down….hmmmmmm.”

What do you think? Was Past Life worth watching or did it deserve to be cancelled? Do you think FOX will really air the remaining four episodes?


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{ 193 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan June 13, 2010 at 9:06 pm

I’m surprised that anyone liked this show. It was really bad. The writing was bad and the acting was bad, among other things. The premise of the show was laughable. There are plenty of shows on tv that deal with the afterlife and the supernatural, but the way that this show went about it was very stupid. I’m glad it was canceled. Maybe they can show something that is actually good next.


Sherry June 13, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I enjoyed this show. I am very upset that it was cancelled. And to be cancelled twice….it is not fair. How about trying it on for another night of the week….another time slot. I am really disappointed with FOX.


Jamie June 13, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I’m getiing annoyed with the networks all the good shows being cancelled, i thought past life was good, im going to have nothing to watch all my favourite shows are or have been being cancelled:

Boston legal
Carnivale/I know this happened ages ago but it was good
Cold case
ugly betty
Happy town

I’m distraught.


samantha June 13, 2010 at 9:43 am

I enjoyed the show. Bring it back give it a chance.


Mary June 11, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I loved the show, I thought is was refreshing and well done. Of course, I believe in reincarnation but I think may have offended some who don’t. I am sorry it was cancelled, I was looking to watch it again tonight.


Rita June 11, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Past Life was a great show. If FOX would have bothered to promote the show first more of us would have watched. I found it by accident and thoroughly enjoyed the two episodes I did see. Would love to have more shows of this genre or perhaps something more along these lines. There are a lot of people that believe in, or are interested in ‘reincarnation’.


John June 6, 2010 at 7:36 am

Intriguing premise, marred by politically correct mush.


lilmsknowitall May 28, 2010 at 9:37 pm

I struggled through the first episode thinking it would surely pick up pace and get better with time. Unfortunately, it only got worse with the second. It was poorly and lazily written. The only thing worse than the writing was the acting. It had the most predictable, over-played and dumbed down storylines I’ve seen since Gilligan’s Island. Hell, I’d much rather watch Gilligan’s Island; at least it had a catchy theme song. Only NBC’s “The Forgotten” has come close to such a total waste of air time in the last 25 years… though, they both made me think the scripts must have been submitted by grammar school students as some sort of promotional contest. With all the brilliant minds out there, why does such sub-par crap keep making it to the pilot phase???


connie May 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm

I just saw my first episode tonight – came in 15 min late, but loved it – even went to look it up online and found out that it had already been canceled! I have to agree with what everybody’s said about good shows getting canceled. I don’t think that everybody who watches American Idol would necessarily like this show – I for one really don’t like reality tv – people like me or people who just don’t watch American Idol (not EVERYONE does) would never be part of that lead in audience


T May 28, 2010 at 10:21 am

I loved this show and would have liked for it to continue. Maybe try it on a Wednesday night?!? How about on the ‘off’ season from AI? Come on FOX, give us something other than the ‘reality’ BS that is usually aired.


Christina May 19, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I loved this show.. or at least what i saw of it. I have the exact same question for the people in charge of airing tv shows, why do you guys always cancel the good ones? Im so dissapointed cos the last time i wanted to watch a show it was cancelled as well. Please, air the whole show. Thank you.


Sharon May 18, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I also adored this show. My husband and I loved watching it together and are so disappointed. I doubt they will release it on DVD if they won’t even give us the last four episodes, but I would buy this series in a heartbeat!


toni May 16, 2010 at 2:55 am

i also liked the show. looks like they will screen the remainder at end of month so will be good to see it online again


kara May 8, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I love this show. i watch all three shows…. i am getting so tired of tv quiting shows like ugly betty i love that one…. and some in the past they could have tried it on another night….. dont drop a show that fast tv people


katherine May 4, 2010 at 11:18 pm

I also thoroughly enjoyed this show. I am starting to hate fox! They always cancel the good shows. This one was NEVER given a chance. I had told several people to watch for it, and thought maybe those were just “preview episodes” and it would be back. Of course, today I decided to look and discovered this. Fox should really stop making new shows if they only cancel them later. This was a very good alternative to Reality shows. I know that American Idol has had to have lost viewers this season. This show should be given another chance, but we all know that will not happen.


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