The Black Donnellys: NBC Puts a Hit on the Drama

The Black DonnellysIt looks like the axe has fallen for the Paul Haggis/Bobby Moresco drama The Black Donnellys. But does it have to be replaced by a reality show?

The Black Donnellys follows the story of four young Donnelly brothers — a clan of Catholic Irish-American siblings who are involved in organized crime in New York’s infamous Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. The story is told by unreliable narrator and Donnelly childhood friend named Joey “Ice Cream” while being incarcerated. The series stars Jonathan Tucker, Thomas Guiry, Olivia Wilde, Billy Lush, Michael Stahl-David, Kirk Acevedo and Keith Nobbs.

The series debuted on NBC on February 26, 2007 and took the place of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip on Monday nights. The series’ initial half hour did well (10 million) but viewership fell off significantly in the second half hour (6 million). The series’ initial hour ranked #50 for the week. The subsequent episodes lost viewers and attracted as few as 5.5 million.

Should The Black Donnellys return?

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While many hoped that a Donnelly dismissal would mean the return of Studio 60, NBC has other plans. The Real Wedding Crashers will debut at 10pm on Monday nights beginning April 23rd, just in time for May sweeps. It seemed like the Crashers reality show would air on Sunday nights but, NBC execs like the series enough to give it the benefit of a post-Heroes debut.

Unless NBC pulls the series even earlier, only eight episodes of Donnellys will have aired on network TV. The series’ third episode, entitled “God is a Comedian Playing to an Audience Afraid to Laugh,” was considered too violent for network TV and was released as an exclusive.

The network has ordered 13 episodes and its unknown at this point what will become of the remaining four segments. They may air over the summer or could be released as online exclusives.

Whether we get to see the rest or not, it looks unlikely the series will be back for a new season in the Fall. NBC will announce their Fall schedule next month. Stay tuned! TV Series Finale home page

UPDATE: NBC has now pulled Donnellys’ last scheduled episode due to low ratings. The unaired episodes will be made available on, presumably on a weekly basis.

Canceled and renewed TV show

369 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Kafuna says

    Now what dim witted idiot cancelled this show..are you kidding me!…and replaced it with what dumbed down nonsense again?….

  2. Dee says

    The Black Donnelly’s was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time, I watched the entire first season on Netflix, and got most of my friends hooked! BRING IT BACK! I need to see what happens next, it leaves you hanging so bad ):

    At least put the second season on Netflix, if you’re worried about the tv viewer rate or whatever. But seriously bring The Black Donnelly’s back!

  3. Lone3l says

    Just watched the entire first season on netflix and i would have to agree OMG!!!!!!!! I Loved…! Bring it back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Sean in Tyrone says

    Guys I think this is just the biggest mistake ever, up there with the war in Iraq!!! I bought the series 1 box set and just fell in love with it. I’ve got my friends watching it now and they feel the same. I know this would have massive in Ireland, but we would probably a large network to broadcast it like in the states. BRING BACK THE BLACK DONNELLYS!!!

  5. Michael Livezey says

    Watched the show on Netflix and feel in love with the show.Needless to say it was great, definitely the best organized crime show on air (besides The Sopranos). I was astonished that NBC canceled the show after one season, to be replaced by a reality t.v.
    Paul Haggis should take the show to HBO or AMC for a season two or a restart of season one, but of course we will never know, because this is just a dream of mine hopefully to become a reality.The show has great potential to be just like the Sopranos, it really needs a season two on a prominent t.v station.

  6. Nikky says

    just watch the one and only season of the black donnellys on netflix and OMG I loved it! obviously the problem with the viewers was due to lack of advertisment because I have never heard of it til now. I cant believe they cancelled this show. I was at the end of my seat the whole time!! I loved it and the funny thing is I am not into crime anything I usually stick to comedies but I just could not stop watching this! I think you EFFED UP HUGE NBC! it would be nice if someone fixed your mistake and gave this show another chance I really think it would do great!

    • Adam says

      I feel the same way I watched the show when it first came out and then recently saw it again on netflix. I wish they brought it back then end of season one just leaves you guessing.

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