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. Shadow says

    How foolish ! what type of a moron would cancel this show ? seriously ! I miss this show and use to look for a new show weekly.
    At least I own all four episodes on DVD. But still……Swallow your pride and bring the Unit back.
    Don’t be so pig headed and do whats right. Bring the Unit back……Now !!!!!!!

  2. says

    They need to bring this show back. Thats a reason why I watch nothing on CBS anymore, also nothing good is on anymore. The Unit was a show I enjoyed.

  3. CSL says

    The cancellation of this outstanding series was another incredibly idiotic move by an inept and completely stupid management team at CBS. I am not of military background myself, or have any close friends or family that are experienced in this arena….but found this series to be riveting. The cast is superb and the plots lines engaging….I very much appreciated the struggles of the wives and family as they supported their soldier-spouses…… and was moved by the personal ethic struggles of the ‘team’ members. This series gave us a realistic look at the sacrifices that our soldiers and their families make in attempts to keep us safe……and it has made me think deeply about what it takes. It makes me even more proud of the courageous soldiers who took out Osama Bin Laden…
    CBS: At a time when our country still struggles with preventing terrorist attacks, this show would be such a morale boost for so many…and help appreciate our soldiers even more. And for heaven’s sake I am a Democrat!! BRING IT BACK!!!!!!!

  4. MrsTracyUSArmyRet says

    I am taken a back with this cancellation. With all of the dumb reality show on the air now, what has happened to the good shows on television. We are going to a reality TV world and that’s going to be our downfall because noone is going to watch TV after while. I love the unit and the reruns. I think they portray the military special forces very well and with that they would bring this show back, but on a different day of the week. Timing is everything in this business. I have never seen them try and move the show around to see how it does on a different night. This is a true heartbreak and I wish they would reconsider. Don’t take away a great show!!! Get rid of the junk shows that are making America the crazy country and full of crazy people for the world to mock.

  5. Good tv show lover says

    I’m all for bring the show back too. I turn on the TV and they keep the dumbest show on the air and stop the good ones. BRING IT BACK!

  6. says

    I am a former ranger who loves military flicks. Among all the top-notch military shows, The Unit is my favorite, without question!! Honestly, if you think about it, placing this television series at the very top of the heap–above classic and award winning military movies–speaks volumes! Dennis “Snake Doc” Haysbert does such an impressive job in his dominant and cognizant role. Ya gotta love it! He exemplifies the role of being confident and not cocky or arrogant. Each of the other characters also superbly click in their roles! I also enjoyed how the wives roles were well integrated into the series. As other members elude, this series had excellent writing, with truly realistic story lines and plots. My wife and I continue to watch re-run episodes every weekend together; she especially likes “Snake Doc” and “Red Cap.” Yeh, , , me too… I definitely appreciated that “Red Cap” was not in the least way portrayed as a wimpy ditz—no place on board The Unit for that. All in all, I must admit that I am honestly disappointed that the show has been discontinued. As mentioned by another member, I don’t know what CBS mgt was thinking either… Of nearly 339,000 ratings for The Unit currently on Netflix, with an average star of 4.1, that tells me that I am not alone in my wish for more new episodes and seasons of The Unit.

    • Rick W. says

      Ranger, What would you think if the mgmt brought The Unit back on television as sort of 2 hr drama with Snake Doc leading the others on a VERY DANGEROUS rescue mission in Iran, Iraq or Afghan…? Just food for thought. I have watched EVERY episode numerous times via Directv. Wow!!!!!!!!!!! I know every word and/or situation the guys have been in from the very start.

      Perhaps we can stimulate other Unit fanatics to write in or call to make this happen.

  7. tvshow/movie watcher says

    This show should go back on air because it gives younger ppl an urge to join the military to serve the country in many dif ways either in the field or in the office , it shows great values an determination of others to protect the country. But most of all it shows stabalization in a family which The Unit/Wives have shown even when there were bad things happening an they always came together an made things right. Honestly thats what the U.S./World needs today! Its something to consider. :)

  8. gary vochatzer says

    as usual hollywood lives up to its reputation///idiots///if greed wasnt alive/hollywood wouldnt exist

  9. Imptopaz says

    The Unit is a very interesting, well written and acted show. It showed on the wrong day. If they had put the show on another day, it would have done much better. I wish they would bring it back.

  10. Shantu Cain says

    They should bring it back. If they need to cut the budget they can cut back on the wives and have more time with the men in the field. This was one of the best shows ever on the air.

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