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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194 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. alla says

    I was thrilled that a show like this was on the air. I watch so many crime type shows, dramas…and this one actually freaked me out and was really interesting. But, I can see why the ratings probably weren’t great. The wasn’t much advertising done for the show, and it is pretty scary. The show should have been pushed much more…then again, Fox doesn’t really need it. Too bad it was cancelled…I really loved it. Hopefully the last four episodes will surface somewhere :)

  2. Shari says

    As a firm believer in reincarnation, I found Past Lives informative and exciting. Definitely different than the standard cliched fare of detective stories. Please bring it back!

  3. Allysa Wiltz says

    My sister and I love Past Life! it was an awesome show from the start. But b/c of the days that it aired we always had to record it or go online to watch it. I liked it when it aired on Thursdays. I know they probably won’t bring it back but i really hope they do. I just loved the show

  4. Staci says

    I am sad that they have cancelled past life I really enjoyed the show and I am sad now that I need to find something new to watch in it’s time slot and that will not be easy to do. I hope they bring something good in its place.

  5. Sapphrina says

    Just plain awesome!! Loved it from the first episode-so sorry to see it go and have nothing else decent to watch…why are the tv polls not always demographically correct? Well, there goes another good program down the tubes because of timeslot switching….

  6. says

    Aw that suck i really like this show because it really base on mental health you cant find a show like that these days. It a show i really enjoy watching it freak me out and its so crazy! it a bummer it got cancelled i was so into the show i keep watching replays of it online because i get more out of it everything i watch it. I hope the show will return someways because this show is really great. Compare to other show on Fox Past Life is number 2 because i like the Simpson too. This show is really a thrill to watch and interesting too i hope it get air again because if it did i would watch it nonstop. I didn’t know it got cancelled so i didn’t look it up until now. Because i would think there a new episode every Friday so i kept going home early when i hang out with my friends to check it is on. But now i know it got cancelled guess i stick to finding old episode online to watch this is a bummer. But it would be great if they made DvD of Past Life for like new episode if they did i would 100% surly buy it!
    Well I would Cross my Finger for now hoping it would return again
    P.S Past Life Rock!

  7. Jillian says

    Past Life was/is fantastic. Sick & tired of networks changing days & time slots… and you wonder why it’s hard to keep a fan base?! You make all this room for the myriad of “reality” shows which is pathetic. Most of those shows can’t exist without alcohol as a character which is a foolish message not to mention the caliber of such shows really rots the brains of the young worse than ever. Adults like to be entertained by shows that make them think or escape, not with reality when so many ppl live crazy enough lives already. This yanking of new shows right before the end of the season is down right cruel & we hate you for it. Will make me never, ever want to get into any other series you introduce in fear we will like it & youll pull that stunt. Bad enough too that “seasons” have been reduced to 6-10 episodes when not so many years ago, a true TV series season would be 22 episodes. And now you deprive us of the final 2 (or so) episodes of a show youre dumping?! You went this far, just finish the season for some kind of meager closure. My new philosophy is when a network becomes one of these habitual offenders (yanking shows they dont give a chance, and pulling them without airing final eps), Im going to yank THAT network from watching anything they ever put out again. I’ll just read more. Your lack of consistency & very poor decisions in show choices (reality shows? really? dont we have enough of that trash? Leave it to pathetic VH1) is going to cost you more of a loss in ratings than actually taking a chance on a second season of these good shows your stomping out without notice (not to mention true shows syndicate; “reality” doesnt). And did you ever consider if you would sit STILL and let it play in its proper & consistent time slot without always shifting time/night, that youd have viewers tune in more often because they can actually find the darn show?! Get with it. What’s happened to you “executives” over there, everywhere? The people know what the people want and your so called ratings are baloney. Bet you wont post this comment b/c it snaps you in your locker room tail with a wet towel.

  8. barbara says

    I was so looking forward to watching this show, I usually watch TV from amazon on demand and just found it after reading “The Reincarnationist” which was a great book
    and which the series was based on.
    Anyone who has read the book would love the show plus the many other people who might be interested in topics that make you think a little.
    So I’ll watch the first 3 episode hoping the producers might change their mind.

  9. Charlotte says

    I looked forward to seeing more of the show Past Lives, it’s too bad it has been cancelled. The characters were great, the plots always kept me guessing as to what was going to happen…I really thought it was a good show. Well, now with Lost gone and Flash Forward cancelled, there are only 3 programs I will be watching: Desperate Housewives, American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. That leaves plenty of left over time to go work out at the gym and to actually start reading books again, something I haven’t done in ages.

  10. Debbie says

    I loved the show Past Lives-I thought it was sharp and edgy-keep you guessing which is pretty rare in today’s television market. I’m sorry that it won’t be coming back.

  11. Karen Chapman says

    I liked Past Life…. I am sick of these reality shows, and I don’t wathc American Idol… So where does that leave me and all of the others like me woh are not interested in reality shows just some good tv viewing??

  12. Liz Adams says

    Just watched the tree episodes of past life, i thought it was fantastic!!. I can’t understand why it got axed, me and my partner was on the edge of our seats from start to finish on all three episodes. Put it back on thats what i say ! its a absolute tourment to give us a little taste and then pull it off screen. Please! please! please! put it back on screen or at least let me know where i can get to see the other four episodes.

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