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

  1. daniel says

    This blows! I remember watching this show while it was on air. very sad when it was pulled. Finally finished watching series on Netflix! I started searching for a season 2. There is none. NBC BLOWS! This show reminds me of my family w/o the killing! Bring it back NBC, or maybe Netflix will buy a season 2 as it’s looking for TV series from now on.

  2. Felipe says

    This show deserves a second season. The black donnellys is really addictive. And the way that the series ended is so unfair. Second season now!

  3. Sneakyone says

    PLEASE GOD….HBO passed…Showtime is the perfect home for this. This is a novel idea, perfect concept, and chance for a long shelflife and twists for years. Some exec has got to be pushing this. I hope anyway.

  4. josh says

    how can a show with a storyline as good as this get pulled while the worst of the worst shows like real housewifes and all that reality garbage get mutliple seasons and spin offs, this show was amazing and had potential as big as the soprano’s, i can’t believe there isnt going to be a second season considering there isnt a person alive who would be able to watch the season finale’ and not want to know what comes next, when i went on the comptuer to look up when the next season aired and found out it wasnt going to i nearly put a whole through the screen!
    Bring back the show and some storyline to replace the dribble that is on tv these days

  5. Lea says

    Hi, Live in Spain, and we only got to start to see this series at the end of last year on cable tv. What a brilliant series!! I am so disappointed there will be no follow up season 2, so would like to fine out if The Donnellys ever get more than a block out of the city! Great adult viewing, and taken off the air before it had a chance to become successful, thank you Canal+ in Spain for repeating it so often.

  6. TR says

    I just discovered this series now in late May 2010…after recently watching Showtime’s “Brotherhood” season 1,2, and 3 ….I liked it but not enough Irish mob too much politics, but still great…..didn’t compare to the Black Donnelly’s at all, this is the best series I have ever seen…pissed theres no 2nd season. I never heard of Brotherhood or Black Donnelly’s til late 2009-2010….where the hell have I been this came out in 07′ and never heard of it nevermind anyone else I know either. At least Brotherhood got a good 3 seasons with showtime this only got 1….even though w/t 1 it’s much better and 2nd season wouldn’t have compared..

  7. Pepr says

    One of the best shows ive seen so far. The story line is amazing, what can i say more then its a bloody shame they canceled the show.

  8. DJ says

    I want HBO to pick this show up. It is the most amazing show, it tells me why NBC keeps losing viewers. THE BLACK DONNELLYS IS THE BEST SHOW! The dumbest thing a network has ever done. Networks have shows on like Brothers, but not this one. If I had the money or the influence I would take this show.

  9. Matt says

    One of nbc’s best. Every time i tell someone about it or get one of my friends to watch it they love it. That’s not a show that should be cancelled. Bring it back pls

  10. Anonymous says

    i have just watched season 1 in scotland and it is all anybody anybody talks about at work best serious ive seen in years

  11. BPaas1 says

    If this will not happen again with NBC then the least you could do for your dissapointed fans whom presumably you care nothing about is sell the rights to the show to a different network. HBO would be an awesome candidate for this series seeing as how they can do way more with violence, language, nudity, etc. I hope someone sees good in this series and brings it back before time runs out.

    • christian paez says

      jesus!! you took the words right out of my mouth, what the hell is wrong with nbc pulling this great show off the air. aleast give to hbo. **** why didnt they give it to hbo in the first place. this show is like hardcore porn and nbc can only handle soft porn sissys

  12. pedro says

    hello everyone the black donnellys is exploding in europe and everyone is excited i hope it will be a season 2. this story is amazing i would buy every season dvd as much of us would buy

  13. Raj says

    Gosh I’ve been praying that somebody would pick up this show for the last 2 years. NBC is honestly one of the dumbest networks EVER for dropping this show. You know how many viewers the show had in general?! Can you blame the show for having low ratings because it started right in the middle of NCAA March Maddness? No. You know who you can blame for everything, it’s NBC. This show had more potential than any other show I have seen….But oh well… I guess there’s nothing I can do about it now. I’ll just buy the 1st season on DVD and remember the times that me and my brother would watch that show and talk about how awesome it was.

  14. matthew trudeau says

    first of all i have been waiting for the black donnellys to come out with season two or something related to the black donnellys. i bought the dvd series a while ago and ive shown this series to many ppl who i felt wouldnt like this series. ive shown my family, my girlfreinds family, most of my freinds and they all love it!! everyone i show this series to is upset over only one fact, and thats because no one knows wat happens next! even my 65 yr old grand mother loved the series. i agree with most of these ppl and they say BAD F’N MOVE!! dont come out with a good series if u cant finish what you started. please and thank you

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