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.”

Canceled and renewed TV show

1,571 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Lisa kim says

    Come on~~ This is one of the best shows from CBS. Very well written and played. You cant drop it just like that!!!! Please save the show and country!!! Their job hasnt been finished saving uncle Sam!!

  2. Cedric says

    Maybe the network should to try making a show pertaining to the United States Marine Corps. I would be willing to let them use me as a writer.

  3. Armylad says

    Ratings ratings ratings… It’s all rubbish, I never watched this show until the last episode of the first season, due to the fact thy being a soldier myself I was on jungle exercise and couldn’t find anywhere to plug in my tv :) that said the minute I got home
    I bought the DVD, continued by the DVDs of other seasons as I know alot of the lads on base worldwide did, now if it all boils down to ratings send a poll to uk and us forces and ask how many of us watch it, you be looking at at least 100,000 that just own the DVD, then we watch in groups of at least 5. Ao my advice get your calculator out and take 100,000 x5 x ever episode ever made and add that your your little ratings sheet and you will see worth bringing back :) best show ever :)

  4. says

    we should start a rally demanding that they bring the show back. it was one of the best show i have ever watched,and i was truly upset when it got cancelled.

  5. LPM says

    Very well written; Better than average acting; Great insight into military culture & life of special ops weenies and families. Need more episodes to continue character development, worldwide threats and our military ops responses..Need to bring series back ASAP and end it properly…or at leat give us a couple of movies ala “24”

  6. AM says

    This is why we shouldn’t watch TV anymore. Every time a good quality storyline with well developed characters, action packed, and attention grabbing show is created for a intense TV series its canceled, because it cost to much. Well the ones that keep you on the edge of your seat usually do. When is someone who knows good TV going to be making the decisions. I am tired of the same crap that is on TV now. They are all the same, I can predict the ending before it comes, because its like the other six series that are on the air now. This show was great, it made me want more even while I was watching it. I am also disappointed that the network canceled the show before it had a proper ending. There are too many good shows that this happens to. If you are going to cancel something give it a proper ending or don’t even bother making the damn show. Dennis Haysbert I say find a network that knows good TV series and air the show somewhere else. Please! It’s too good to end it this way.

  7. cbs. blows says

    I just bought and watched all seasons . A real shame show was cancelled. Im thinkin maybe gov shut it down. Too good to be cancelled. Well i hopr it comes back. If u think about it, show was cancelled then osama ends up dead lol. Now that hes swimmin with the fishies bring back show.

  8. Dr. Halle says

    Solid drama, good action, well-developed characters…and insight into military (and special ops) culture. I am pretty much a pacifist, but have respect for these people (though not for the lunatic wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and drone attacks in Pakistan) Bush and Obama are responsible for (nor for them as presidents).

    I wish CBS would wise up and keep programs of this caliber alive for at least a couple more seasons.

  9. LeeLee Hall says

    I was so disappointed when this series ended- can’t they sit down and think about doing a few unit tv movies? Or movies like they did with 24? I feel like it’s unresolved and I really wanted to watch more shows. I am quite picky with what I watch and just loved the character complexities- amongst other things. I loved the action and just love Dennis Haysbert. Please bring it back or do a follow up movie once or twice a year. I miss it- and miss watching it with my hubby- who has always been facinated with special forces stuff. Please!!! There’s not much worthwhe to watch unless you like cooking over here in Oz!!! Haha

  10. Theresa says

    Its one show I watched with my husband! So maybe they should total their ratings again!
    Bring it back! Great actors , great writers and true story lines…One more time…hire the same people back!!!!

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