Likely due to mediocre ratings and its star’s health, A&E has cancelled The Beast after one season.
Set in Chicago, The Beast revolves around an unorthodox veteran of the FBI, Charles Barker (Patrick Swayze). He takes on a rookie partner, Ellis Dove (Travis Fimmel) and trains him a hard-edged and controversial approach towards undercover work. Others in the cast include Lindsay Pulsipher, Kevin J. O’Connor, Larry Gilliard Jr., Shannon Edwards, Johnny Kastl, Suzy Brack, Danielle Mulligan, Randy Bernales, Emily Margaret Heitzer, Mike Bach, Dale Caba, and Thomas Kosik.
Overall, the series was well-received by critics, with Swayze receiving the lion’s share of the praise. The show’s ratings unfortunately didn’t reflect the positive press. Approximately 2.45 million tuned in to watch the premiere but then only 1.55 million returned for episode two. The third installment dropped to 1.35 million. The first season’s 13 episodes averaged about 1.3 million.
Those numbers aren’t stellar but they are good enough for the cable channel to consider ordering a second season.
Unfortunately, another significant deciding factor in the renewal decision is Swayze’s health. A&E President Bob DeBitetto told USA Today, “As has been the case from day one, it is all about Patrick — in a lot of ways… It is about his condition, and when and whether he would be up for another grueling production schedule.”
The 56-year-old actor went public about his battle with pancreatic cancer in January 2008. While still undergoing treatment, Swayze shot the rigorous role last Summer in Chicago. His wife Lisa told People, “He had challenges while he was working because he was still doing chemo and it wasn’t always easy but in spite of all of that, he’d suit up and show up. He was always there.”
On working with Swayze, The Beast costar Gilliard Jr. told People, “In his mind, nothing was wrong… That’s the kind of person he is — very positive.”
Even still, the media has been fueling negative speculation about the actor’s prognosis for survival. Those reports were fueled earlier this year when Swayze missed press appearances because he had to be checked into a Los Angeles hospital for pneumonia.
Though A&E denies that a decision about the show’s fate has been made, sources close to the show have indicated to Variety that The Beast won’t be returning. There apparently had been some speculation about another actor stepping into the lead role but apparently a suitable replacement couldn’t be found. An unnamed source told People, “There’s no way it was going to happen without Patrick.”
The last episode of The Beast, titled “No Turning Back,” aired on April 23rd.
Image courtesy A&E.