CBS has decided to cancel Shark after two seasons on the air. What killed the series?
Shark debuted on September 21, 2006 and stars James Woods as Sebastian “Shark” Stark, an arrogant and cutthroat prosecutor. The TV show did pretty well in its first season on CBS. It ranked 24th for the season with an average of 13.7 million viewers. The one downside was that the show’s viewers tended to skew older. But, in a season littered with prematurely cancelled drama series (Smith, 3 lbs., The Nine, etc.), the show’s ranking and survival was an impressive achievement. The series was renewed for a second season.
Season two kicked off on Sunday, September 23, 2007. In that 10pm timeslot, Shark had to compete against ABC’s popular Brothers & Sisters and consistently lost in total viewers and the all-important 18-49 demographic.
Like most shows, Shark’s production schedule was interrupted by the writers strike. When the strike was over, production resumed and four more episodes were created. After a long absence, new episodes began airing in late April. In the show’s new Tuesday night timeslot, it was easily beaten by ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen in both total and 18-49 viewers.
The show’s chances for a third year were still up in the air until just recently. Ultimately, the combination of Shark’s inability to attract younger viewers, the writers strike, and CBS’ excitement over its new dramas is likely what led the network to cancel the series.
Woods tells the LA Times that the cast and crew were “very saddened” by the news but were trying to stay positive. He continues, “We’re a little baffled by the decision but we’re very supportive… None of us can figure out quite why. But we have no bad feelings. This show did an enormous amount for me personally. We all won doing the show.”
>The current season, cut short by the writers strike, is made up of only 16 episodes. Shark’s series finale is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20th. It’s unlikely that the episode will offer any kind of closure for the series. Stay tuned!