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Swingtown: CBS (Finally) Officially Cancels the 1970s TV Show

Grant Show in SwingtownAt the start of today’s television press tour session, CBS president Nina Tassler announced something that we’ve all known for months. Swingtown isn’t coming back for a second season.

Swingtown follows three Chicago families in 1970s era suburbia as they explore new freedoms and shifting moral values. The series stars performers like Molly Parker, Jack Davenport, Grant Show, Lana Parrilla, Josh Hopkins, Miriam Shor, Shanna Collins, Aaron Christian Howles, Brittany Robertson, Michael Rady, Nick Benson, and Kate Norby.

The series was initially scheduled to debut during the regular 2007-08 season but the premiere was delayed until Summer 2008. Critical and viewer reception for Swingtown was mixed and the pilot debuted to fewer than 8.6 million viewers and a 2.5/7 rating/share in the 18-49 demographic. Subsequent episodes’ ratings dropped from there. After seven episodes, CBS moved Swingtown to Friday nights where viewership plunged to a low of 2.82 million.

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Though the series’ ratings were too low to warrant a season two renewal on the network, the CBS studio tried to find another home for Swingtown. In the end, the best they could do was to make a deal with Bravo to rerun the first season. Execs for the cable net made it clear however that they weren’t interested in funding a second season.

In November, Show told TV Guide, “Yeah, unfortunately [it's over]. I mean, they haven’t released me and they haven’t made any official statements yet, but our contracts are all up in December. They’d have to have us back working before then, and I don’t think it’s possible to do that.”

Tassler has long been an advocate for the series and initially gave Swingtown a greenlight. Today, she made the show’s fate official when she announced, “No, we’re not going back to Swingtown. We were extremely proud of the execution – [it] ended up on a half dozen top 10 lists in 2008.”

She continued, “At the end of the day the show was well executed, it was well received, the performances were great, the writing was great. It was a risk, we took it, and we’re proud of it.” The exec blamed the show’s performance, at least in part, to the writers strike.

Unfortunately, there’s been no talk of giving the series an ending of some kind. Does the show need one?

 

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{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

Ellen March 19, 2009 at 8:12 pm

MotherF—. I cannot believe THIS show gets canceled and all those lame ass game/reality/dating shows continue on. This was a rare, intelligent, clever, cool, BELIEVABLE, sophisticated, not-too-melodramatic, slightly soapy night time drama, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy better than stupid Desperate Housewives and even stupider Grey’s Anatomy, as well as most so-called prime time programming.

Booooooooo to CBS for not giving this excellent program a fighting chance to find a damn audience. Which it would have. I for one have no doubt. I told everyone how good it was, but now they’ll never get to see it.

When are these f-sticks in network TV going to realize that with all the cable and satellite options people have now, not to mention video games and downloadable movies for crying out loud (not even getting into the shocking reality that people don’t always put the rest of their lives on hold for a television show, no matter how good it is) that it takes time to catch on sometimes?

Another of my all time fave shows had a similar first season. Noooobody else I knew watched it. So unclear was the future of this show when it first went into production that the network only ordered a half season. It was sooooooo good that I actually assumed it would be canceled (because that’s what networks do to groundbreaking shows) that I began taping it the third week it was on telly. I continued to do so FOR NINE YEARS. Any guesses? The network: Fox. The show: The X-Files. That’s right. Take note whoever axed S-town. Even The X-Files, one of the best television shows ever created, did not catch on until the second season, and even then it was a bit of a slow burn.

This is the most disastrous first season cancellation since My So Called Life was killed prematurely and we all now how amazing that show was and how much canceling it was such a bonehead dick move.

I want to give a special shout out to the actress who PLAYED Trina. Cudos to you my young woman. Yours was the character I was most intrigued by and the story line I enjoyed the most. Your performances were consistently captivating and delicately and subtly nuanced. You are a gem and I hope you are proud of this achievment. I will miss you the most. Sniff.

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Donna March 19, 2009 at 8:04 am

I loved the show me and my friends were just really getting onto it I think it stinks there is nothing on for people in their 30,s to 50,s to watch. Everything is cop shows

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Michelle March 6, 2009 at 7:21 pm

it’s a shame that CBS had to cancel this show! Just as you start getting into it-it’s gone! It seems like this world is more obsessed with reality tv rather than original programming. too bad they couldn’t run it on a cable channel. I loved this show, and it was nice to watch something during the summer other than re-runs

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mildred February 23, 2009 at 9:04 pm

It is a shame that CBS has done this again, Jericho and now Swingtown. This show was just getting off the ground for many of its fans but instead of pacifying advocators you choose your precious ratings. In the summer really WHO is watching TV but adults that don’t want to subscribe to high priced premium channels to pass the time. YOU GUYS SUCK!

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A.B. February 18, 2009 at 7:31 pm

What a shame. I realize most reading this article are fans of the program. I think it would get much better ratings on SHOCASE following Weeds or Californication. Hope one of them can pick it up. Loved the series.

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attygirl February 13, 2009 at 5:09 am

Shame on you CBS – you had something really good for a change and never gave it a real chance. Why am I surprised when the only other show on CBS I follow is 60 Minutes – certainly won’t invest my time in the primetime crap they have been dishing out for years.

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ANM February 12, 2009 at 12:24 pm

I agree with the MANY other replies. With all of the other shows that have been going on for years, it was refreshing to have a new theme on television. Especially with all of the unimaginative reality shows out!! I loved the writing, the setting, the characters, and the insight of a different genre (for once). To bad the charaters didn’t act like the trashy, stripper-like reality-show stars today, with plastic bodies and dried up vommit on their white trash clothes. Maybe then they could have had an abundance of unsupervised teenagers making their their ratings sky-rocket as well. Say good-bye to the seventies forever.

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Jane February 9, 2009 at 11:24 pm

What a shame….I loved this show. Great writing. Interesting characters. But, alas, it’s all about ratings (i.e., money).

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tara February 8, 2009 at 8:51 pm

I loved this show I was young in the 70′s don’t really remember much but the decor this show gave me glimpse into what was going on. and i fell in love with all the characters. I always wanted house and to have the parties that grant shows character had. I sure hope that they will give the episodes to tie up the lose ends.

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JR February 8, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Once again, the TV audience is left hanging without a closure to a show I fell in love with (October Road comes to mind). I can’t believe we won’t get to see what happens with Susan and Roger. This is such a heart breaking blow to those of us who tuned in faithfully every week to see this exciting, wonderfully written show. It certainly makes me question whether I want to get attached to any new shows only to have me left hanging after one season. What a terrible move to cancel and a lack of loyalty to your viewers. This really sucks!!!!!!!!

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sarah February 8, 2009 at 3:27 pm

How can CBS cancel a great show like that?! Leaving us all here without a closure?! That’s very said! It was a wonderfull show! =(

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Scott C February 5, 2009 at 8:58 pm

I think CBS should have given it another season. I’d much rather see new shows rather than a bunch of repeats. This is a unique show and was well produced for its debut season. With time and feedback I know this show would have continued its growth.

I hope we see it come back on another network since CBS has now made their final decision. It initially was going to be on HBO, maybe being on cable where it can be less regulated would be better for us all.

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Anonymous February 5, 2009 at 8:13 pm

Of course they cancelled the show- it was actually GOOD. Amongst all the other crap on TV, this was a show we enjoyed watching, and it wasn’t typical like other shows- aka reality cheez, medical drama, or cop drama. I was hoping another channel would pick it up- HBO or Bravo or something, but I guess that won’t be happening…hopefully in the future they can do a TV movie on it or something to give it a full wrap up…

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no_ophia February 4, 2009 at 10:06 pm

CBS ya’ll suck for canceling this show!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Lauren February 4, 2009 at 3:54 pm

I can’t believe they let this show go. Here’s hoping Bravo will be smart enough to pick it up. It’s a shame good TV doesn’t last.

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