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 on "Past Life: Struggling FOX TV Show Cancelled after Three Episodes"

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Chris
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Chris
February 24, 2010 12:40 pm

Glad Past Life was put to death. Waiting for the best show on TV, Fringe, to make it’s return April 1st, on FOX!

lulabalulah
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lulabalulah
February 24, 2010 12:06 pm

I’m not the least bit surprised Past Life was canceled. It was dull, heavy-handed and poorly acted.

And to the comments here that posit it was canned because its theme was intellectually challenging, I just have to laugh! If you consider reincarnation to be cutting edge and “in-your-face”, you need to get out of Momma’s basement more often. This show’s plot lines were about as challenging as a game of Tic Tac Toe with a five-year-old. Do not equate your belief in the show’s premise as a sign of intellectual superiority over the rest of America.

Hannah
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Hannah
February 24, 2010 8:20 am

I don’t think the show past life should’ve ended. I thought it was a great show.. Too bad. I hope they at least play the remaining 4 episodes that were never played. I really strongly belive that was a great show and didn’t deserve to be taken off. They should of gave it more time to become more popular. They only aired 3 episodes.. I just really hope they give it another chance.

Charles
Reader
February 23, 2010 3:56 pm

When you put a new show, even as good as Past Life, up against the Olympics and Grey’s Anatomy and not promote it or give it a chance to create buzz, failure is certain. Is this why we keep getting shows that appeal to our basest instincts and are often garbage?

Val
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Val
February 23, 2010 10:00 am

As a Medium and Clinical Hypnotherapist who does regression therapy for clients, I understand and “get it” which I suspect most people would not. The concept was good but the reality of the way the show was shown, was not realistic. Karma, as like anything else, can be positive or negative. Past Lives can definately affect our current lives and the choices we make. I would have liked the show to have been given a chance but the writing would need to be revised to reflect the reality of karma and past lives.

Cherise
Reader
February 27, 2010 2:27 pm

would love to learn more about your work…do you have a site? or e-mail contact ?

Karen
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Karen
February 23, 2010 8:28 am
Fox made a bad decision to run Past Life during the Olympics and against Grey’s Anatomy and Mentalist. Despite that, why toss the rest of the episodes already in the can? Running the pilot and 2 episodes does not give the viewers a chance to bond with the show. The show was well-written and well-acted with a very interesting storyline that was not given a chance to develop. And the real blow is that it has been replaced with yet, another mindless reality show. Stop trying to dumb us down. Bring back the scripted series and get rid of 90%… Read more »
charlotte
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charlotte
February 25, 2010 6:39 pm

YES!!!!!!!!!!TOTALLY AGREE………THANKS

Anonymous
Reader
Anonymous
February 22, 2010 10:56 pm

Cheaters never win, David.

Marianne
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Marianne
February 22, 2010 4:47 pm

I liked the show a lot and am disappointed they are canceling it. I am, however, not surprised because I think that idea of reincarnation still hasn’t settled well with people. I agree with the comment that the main characters needed to be fleshed out a bit more, but the concept was interesting. I hope they at least air the remaining episodes.

Mohsen
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Mohsen
February 22, 2010 3:21 pm

Past life did not deserve to be canceled.

Barbara
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Barbara
February 22, 2010 9:54 am

They aired this new show around American Idol and then the Olympics. Why did they not wait until it could have been given a better chance? It had some promise as a new show but the studio should have waited until at least the Olympics was over.

Anonymous
Reader
Anonymous
February 22, 2010 9:41 am

Very disappointed that Past Lives is being taken off. Everytime we like a new show on Fox, they take it off! Why?! Very disappointed! Should not be takingit off! I hope they atleast finish airing the remaining episodes!

Jim
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Jim
February 22, 2010 2:27 am
@Alison exactly how was this show “a brand new idea”????? let’s see…let’s take cold case and sprinkle it with medium and then add reincarnation. yeah, a completely new idea. and those are just shows within the last few years. if you think this was a groundbreaking television show, then i feel bad for you. as i said before, i’ve been disappointed countless times over the last 30 years as really good shows got canned because they didn’t appeal to the masses. this is not one of those times. and fyi, i haven’t eaten a tv dinner since i was 6… Read more »
Alison
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Alison
February 21, 2010 5:03 pm

This is why America is full of lazy jerks who sit around eating tv dinners watching terrible television. They refuse to have to think about what they are watching… if it takes too much effort then forget it.

Alison
Reader
Alison
February 21, 2010 5:01 pm

It was a good show, almost everything that they talked about, related to past lives, was exactly what people believe in when it comes to past lives. I thought the script was pretty great considering it was a brand ne idea

Jaime
Reader
February 21, 2010 4:34 pm

I really liked the show very out of the box idea. Kind of saddened by the fact that they cancelled it

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