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Prime Suspect: NBC Airs Last Episodes of Cancelled Series

Prime Suspect canceledLast night, NBC burned off the final two episodes of Prime Suspect. The TV series has been ratings-challenged right from the start and, in November, NBC acknowledged that they wouldn’t be ordering any installments beyond the initial 13 episode order. The official word was that they would re-evaluate once all of the episodes had aired but everyone knew that it was really being cancelled.

If there was even a glimmer of hope that Prime Suspect might see a second season, the ratings for the final episodes didn’t help. Prime Suspect’s numbers continued to dwindle in the latter part of 2011. Last night, following a month hiatus, the finale registered a new series low.

Prime Suspect has been all but officially cancelled by NBC and its replacement, The Firm, is doing even worse. Last Thursday’s episode registered a 0.9 rating for its fourth episode. It took Prime Suspect 10 weeks to drop that low. Fortunately for fans of The Firm, NBC purchased 22 episodes up front. It remains to be seen if they’ll all air.

At the recent TCA press tour, NBC execs noted that, had Prime Suspect been on a premium cable channel like Showtime, it would have been declared a hit and would have been quickly renewed. Maybe but we’ll never know.

What do you think? Are you sorry that this was the end of Prime Suspect? Why do you think it didn’t catch on? Would it have been a hit on HBO or Showtime or even on a basic cable station like TNT?

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{ 277 comments… read them below or add one }

ZivaD March 19, 2012 at 9:36 am

I loved this show. If NBC hadn’t bounced it all over the fall schedule the ratings would have improved, not crashed and burned. I’ve rediscovered it on Hulu+–if USA or TNT would just pick it up, it would be a bigger hit than Southland.


Penny in Massachusetts March 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Great show, great characters, worth continuing into syndication and then a gold mine. Obviously some execs at nbc have their heads up their financial asses. For gods’ sake, after you spend the money on a great show, put it on in the right slot! Don’t throw the money away! (since $$ is the only thing you are thinking of but you don’t get it that something good doesn’t need a huge audience, what you need for long term success is a LOYAL audience. A loyal audience doesn’t turn on you the way a “whatever is popular” audience does.)
Fine, make some money on “flash in the pan” popular stuff, but remember the difference between bread and butter and penny candy. Hold on to a solid base. Balance your investment. Niche markets are the future, quality matters. Maria Bello created a character we wanted to see grow and change and develop – someone we felt we knew, cared about, as well as the other characters – the acting had heart and soul. I watched it on Hulu and I’m 62 years old. I’ll bet you thought that audience had a younger profile, but no.
Networks need to be more nimble and figure out how the world is changing and not just offer clone reality shows. Because those basically suck, I don’t even bother with cable anymore. I canceled it. It’s ridiculously overpriced and offers me shit. Why would I bother to sift through all that %^&^*? Networks only hope to survive is to offer both decent shows that appeal to a loyal audience over time giving you a financial base (not huge but reliable) PLUS the briefly HUGELY popular entertainment with limited shelf-life that appeals to the human need for novelty. But don’t depend on your fad responsive popular audience for your financial base because they can turn on a dime. And for gods’ sake, would you studio executives stop just imitating each others’ successes and recognize that something is hugely successful when it is unique and offers something genuinely creative – even to a popular audience!


Beatrice March 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm

I love this show, bring it back !!!!!!


Lynn March 13, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I can’t believe this show was cancelled, What is it with NBC? They got rid of Southland which is fantastic. Maybe Prime Suspect will wind up on cable? That would be nice…


linda March 12, 2012 at 6:55 am

I am so upset the show ended. nbc needs
this show on monday/ tues/fri nights by 9pm. i loved
the chemistry among the cast. A very poor decision by


Mike March 11, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Damn NBC what the h…! are you doing , you have to be kidding , is this all you do is air new show’s and then cancel them I can give you a list of show’s that was perfect for prime time T.V. going back 4 to 5 years , I’m starting to wonder what is you gold .


Candy March 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm

NBC… if you have cancelled Prime Suspect. Shame on You. Maria was truly refreshing and I found the show to be well written, acted and BELIVEABLE. Grim, The Firm. The JOKE is on YOU.


Jenn the Queen March 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm

I was sorry to see this show cancelled. I enjoyed it. I watched the entire BBC series and, alhough the NBC version didn’t compare, it’s still one of the few network shows I bothered to DVR this year.


Erika March 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I’m extremely disappointed that this show was canceled. It was a huge favorite of mine and I thought it deserved more. Like the other posts above, I hope TNT is smart enough to pick this one up. It deserves a second chance.


Linda S. March 9, 2012 at 7:45 am

This is crazy! Because of my schedule, I record most shows I watch. After seeing the finale last night, I googled to see if it survived the axe of NBC which of course it didn’t. A real shame! Another great intelligent, humorous drama with superb acting down the drain. The methods used to assess ratings are absolutely antiquated. If I were ever to be called at the instant a show airs, I would have to say I’m not watching anything. But in fact, I am very selective and watch many terrific series only to be disappointed. It takes time to bond with characters. I really resent this.


Stephanie B. March 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm

I can’t believe this show got cancelled when there is Rizzoli and Isles, the Mentalist, fifty million Real Housewives, and Toddler and Tiarras still going. strong apparently…( I could go on and on…)
I loved the characters, the story lines, everything. NBC…you deserve to be as low as your ratings have you.


Sue R March 8, 2012 at 11:50 am

This was my favorite show. It got better and better as you got to know the characters. Hope TNT picks it up, too!


Brooklyn March 8, 2012 at 9:54 pm



Anonymous March 7, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I really liked the show. I am sorry it will not be on for another season.


Gary H. March 7, 2012 at 7:55 am

Last year they pulled the plug on the best Cop series in years, Law & Order LA. I had renewed hope when I saw Maria Bello and all the others (writers especially) doing such a fine job of creating a grim reality of what a big city homocide detective’s world might be like. Now NBC with their finely tuned purses have once again ignored critical acclaim and deftly beheaded another fine series.

PLEASE at least ship it to TNT like you did with Southland. Give us some hope that stuff “sitting in the can” may be aired

Damn you Jeff Zucker!


B & C March 6, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Now that this show is gone, there is no reason to watch any NBC programming


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