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The Unit: CBS Cancels Dennis Haysbert Series, No Season Five!

The UnitThere’s another casualty on network TV. CBS’ military drama, The Unit, has been cancelled after four seasons on the air.

The Unit revolves around an elite military unit and their civilian loved ones. The series features the talents of Dennis Haysbert, Regina Taylor, Audrey Marie Anderson, Robert Patrick, Max Martini, Abby Brammell, Michael Irby, Scott Foley, Demore Barnes, Alyssa Shafer, Danielle Hanratty, Kavita Patil, and Rebecca Pidgeon.

Created by acclaimed director and writer David Mamet, the series debuted in mid-season 2006. An average audience of 15.5 million viewers ensured a second season for the drama but year two didn’t go as well, attracting 11.1 million viewers. The show has continued to decline in the ensuing years and season four has averaged an audience of 9.67 million. Though the overall viewership isn’t too low, the series does skew older. The average age of The Unit’s viewership is about 55.

The series has been “on the bubble” for awhile and many took it as a bad sign when showrunner Shawn Ryan signed on to helm FOX’s Lie to Me. Ryan however maintained that he would continue on both shows if The Unit was renewed. He’d previously performed double duty while working concurrently on The Unit and The Shield.

Should The Unit have been cancelled?

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Like most of the networks’ actions these days, the decision to renew or cancel came down to finances. CBS had asked for all of its shows to reduce their budgets. The Unit is actually already cheaper to produce than it looks. Shot primarily in Southern California, it costs less than $3 million per episode to produce. That’s about half as expensive as other primetime dramas.

A couple weeks ago, Haysbert told the LA Times that he was unsure if he wanted the show to come back if it meant making too many creative and salary concessions. He said, “There are a number of factors that go into whether I want it back or not. It’s been a great ride and, if I don’t work with these people again, I’ll certainly play golf with them.”

In an age when the networks and studios have to watch every dollar, they’ve all been favoring renewing shows that are created by sister or in-house production companies. Since 20th Century Fox TV produces the show, the network wouldn’t benefit if the show went into syndication.

Prior to the cancellation news, Gary Newman, chairman of The Unit’s studio, said, “For the CBS viewer, this show is unique. The audience may not be huge, but there’s going to be enormous disappointment if it goes off and it’s replaced with one more procedural or forensics show.”


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{ 1549 comments… read them below or add one }

Chick McKenna March 20, 2014 at 4:11 am

I agree entirely with Billy`s comments. CBS you should be ashamed of cancelling one of the best programmes seen on TV since Boston Legal.


Billy March 19, 2014 at 4:17 pm

I have watched all 4 seasons when first released and watched it again on Netflix and like everybody else feel a bit cheated and disappointed at the cancelling of the show. With things happening around the world and the involvement of special forces in conflicts around the world there will b a greater interest in the bringing back of The unit.


david waters March 5, 2014 at 5:38 pm

the unit really very good i enjoy watch the unit i want season 5 but cancel i disappointed please come back show again i love watch


Ken February 20, 2014 at 1:03 am

I am very happy to have watched all four seasons of “The Unit”, and also very sad that there were only four seasons. A truly wonderful series about an elite unit’s military life and their home life. Will most certainly buy the DVD four year series.


Colt1911 February 14, 2014 at 3:39 pm

I have just worked my way through to the end of season 2 and cant believe that i have only 2 more series to enjoy. Seriously, enough time has passed for some fresh and invigorating ideas to breathe life into a return series.

I have family and friends in covert ops units and despite them saying that the Unit isn’t completely accurate, it is an insight for the civvies and very entertaining!

I will miss this show very much, a campaign for season 5 should be undertaken.


chick mckenna February 9, 2014 at 3:57 am

Have really enjoyed this series and very disappointed that it has been axed. It asks many questions and leaves the viewer to reach his or her own conclusions. And it is thought provoking at the same time as being entertaining. Bring back the Unit!!!


Glockgal47 November 24, 2013 at 1:05 am

The Unit! Speaking from a bit of experience as a WAC, (Women Air Corp) I thoroughly enjoyed this show. it speaks not only of the Soldier but of the Family. The explanation of ‘training accidents’ discrete information to honor our Military Soldier and Family. This was the only military show I have had the privilege of viewing. The military shows now do not compare, are one-sided and Negative, I do not spend my time on. My Dish program records any and all of The Units series and I continue to watch the reruns to this date! I do believe that they cancel the popular shows that perhaps gear toward the 50′s population, which I am proud to say I am part of and disappointed that they continue to cancel the ‘good’ shows! to this date: I no longer subscribe to any premium channels and have cut back my viewing time to 5 hours a week! Positive or Negative? Bottom line: The Unit was an excellent source to bring military awareness to the public! Truth! Honor! Respect! Integrity! Hero’s! The Soldier & Family = The Unit! You are Missed!


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