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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.

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{ 369 comments… read them below or add one }

jerome December 30, 2008 at 4:11 am

what a great show this is…brilliant story telling, great acting, great premise. I cannot believe NBC pulled this show….u should be shot !!


micheal allen December 5, 2008 at 8:27 am

is there goin to be a finale season?


Richard August 10, 2008 at 12:43 am

Bring back the Donnelly’s – it was one of the best series that has been on.


Manel August 6, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Oh stupid NBC executives.
Im from all the way PORTUGAL, an European country and I freaking loved this series!

Season was awesome.
For me, its like better than Prison Break and Heroes.

Hope NBC falls back on the decision.

Donnellys rule


Maddison May 3, 2008 at 6:49 pm

Tisk, Tisk, tisk…
You know…
i knew you guys were idiots but not like this…I’m sorry if im being vague here but,
you guys really shouldn’t have shot don’t the black Donnelly’s series.
Not a good move you guys, i’m telling you right now, and i’m not trying to be loathsome but you’ll regret this move, not very professional in my books.
or anyone else’s.


Halfpenny May 2, 2008 at 6:30 pm

whoever decided that the black donnellys wasnt good enough for a second series and beyond is an idiot and obviously knows nothing about great television. the acting throughout was excellent. coupled with top quality writing and direction this had the makings of a hell of a series. the first and last episodes leave the audience gagging for more. this was by far the best series on t.v. people in suits pull your heads out and low it.


Irishbhoy March 22, 2008 at 8:40 am

Cant believe this show is cancelled. It was really taking off in Ireland and we all cant believe its been cancelled!!! Bring it back!!!!!!!!


Luz de Nogales February 6, 2008 at 10:24 am

This serie is so amazing, is a really good show, i love it and i want to come back a new season, PLEASE


amanda January 7, 2008 at 12:14 am

I can not believe that this show is not coming back, it was exceptional! We had lots of friends come over and we’d all watch the show together. This is very disappointing NBC. Hopefully some other channel will see the potential in this cast.


CK December 26, 2007 at 8:23 pm

I was dissapointed when The Black Donnellys was taken of the air. I saw a little of The Spranos, hints of The God Father, and goodfellas. It even had some of the qualities I enjoyed watching the shield. I was addicted to the show and had the wind knocked out of me when it was cancelled. I bought the series on dvd and added it to my collection. I think FX would make a good home for this series


chelsea December 18, 2007 at 6:26 pm

i really think that there should be a season two of the Black donnellys. i loved the first season!!! so there should be a second season!!!


Tess December 12, 2007 at 9:33 pm

I just watched the season finale and I thought it was one of the best endings. NBC needs to bring back this show. I am so sick of realty tv and it was nice to have an entertaining show on.


Matthew December 12, 2007 at 12:18 am

some of the best quality i have ever seen on nbc…why oh why did you cancel this show? it was sooo good. Bring it back after Wedding Crashers bombs.


F**K YOU NBC December 11, 2007 at 6:41 am

NBC sucks, I kept holding off waiting for them to bring it back, thinking “Hmm, what the hell?” and so FINALLY I looked online and they screwed us over. Scrubs will be gone soon, and the “C”s will have nothing worth watching left.


bsloan November 26, 2007 at 9:31 pm

How about SOMEONE (hbo?!?) making The Black Donnelly’s into a show again – please – i’ll pay for it – i already netflixed it and watched it again – one of the better and most original series made.


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