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. jodie says

    Please bring it back. My entire family loves the show. We have every season and watch it over and over. We need season 5!

  2. Griffin says

    What tha deuce??? Bought the complete series on a deployment, and loved it. Just got on here to find out what happened to season 5, only to be disappointed. If the show got enough advertisement before it came back for another season, it would definitely be a hit. Aside from the TV show Dexter, we, Americans, are pretty much burnt out on Forensic, comedy, and drama shows. The Unit was kind of like a “High Tech, military, McGyver.” We need The Unit to bring back the creativity/action/drama/American relation to our televisions. Maybe someone could talk to SHOWTIME, or HBO, and they could pick up where CBS left off. It would be a great reason for me to pay the extra money for the channels, but you have to use the same characters….. Pull your heads out of your fourth point of contact, CBS…

  3. Daniel says

    I will really miss this show! I have just finished season 4 and it is the only series I have ever enjoyed!!!

  4. brett says

    the unit should not of left the air that was the only show that got my wife and i on the couch not fighting over the remote and the last episode left it open for more come on just do it

  5. Andrea says

    We love this show. We have found it to be true to what is happening in America today. Please resurrect this show!!!!! This is the only show on Saturday and Sunday we make sure we are in front of the TV. And we have clued in family and friends.

    Thank you – Andrea Shepherd

  6. Andrea says

    Are you serious cancelling this show???? We found “The Unit” a year ago and we would not miss an episode on Saturday or Sunday night. To us, this is the only show that we make sure we are in front of the TV to watch. PLEASE bring back THE UNIT with the same characters and that includes Dennis Haysbert!!!!!!

  7. Jon says

    I & many of my friends just love watching the unit. I don’t think they should drop the show, after all the episodes are’nt very expensive to produce. the unit has fans all over the world,it’s not only watched in the US.

  8. says

    Here it is 2012 and I do miss The Unit as one of the shows that I was looking forward to the next episode. You state that the viewership went down and leveled off at many millions of viewers. It was one of a few shows that made me feel good as an American again and showed the traditional American values. Yes, maybe older Americans liked it more because it reminded us of the America when we were young. It is the younger generation that needs this series to know what it was like to be in America as the home of the proud and the brave. What it meant to see the “Stars and Stripes” when you were in trouble anywhere in the world. Bring back the series with the same actors and you will pick up the tempo of the morale in America.

  9. Anonymous says

    you guys aint serious because when you do sth please do not think only whites watch it but we Africans enjoy them than the whites

  10. Anonymous says

    i think they canceled because as usual their is not enough sleeze.
    as with everything else the good shows get the cut. The Unit was a show that would have
    stuck through any financial rough patches. It was clean and sensible and often realistic, and those who have traveled and served do really appreciate that show. It would be so awesome if Sgt Mjr Blaine could come back and kick it into overdrive.
    The government and financial institutions cant cater to us citizens, it would be nice if the networks could do so, and give us what we want.
    I miss that show. truly.

  11. Pattie Jeanne Odom says

    I do not watch very much “prime time”. Most of the Television shows are insultingly moronic and idiotic. Unfortunately I only began to apprecitate “The Unit” this past year, usually the re-runs. This is so typical, cancelling a substantial show. The only show that does not glorify the criminal and actually caught and punished the evil.

  12. KENNETH says

    aGREED. fOR ONCE a BLACK man is in the lead of a one hour ACTION series, head of the tactical special forces unit and it was canceled. Therefore my DVR will record EVERY episode from now on because, as the article indicates, I was a former U.S. Army and Marine Corp operative who worked with the types of characters featured on the show.

    There are way too many crappy black sitcoms (except Bernie Mac – love his because it doesn’t insult me with a laugh track and is more realistic) that feature blacks (including Tyler Perry’s) acting like minstrels. This one made me feel proud of serving and although I never watched it during prime time, I will certainly record it every time it is on the air in syndication. I can’t stand CSI, NCIS or most of the law enforcement shows because I am not a criminal. Why would I want to watch such stuff and can only wonder why the public does. The Unit had heart AND a soul and I have only seen maybe one episode. But the realism captures me and reminds me of many covert missions that I cannot talk about. So I proudly will record this series to show my future students in my media classes.

    • Jim says

      When I watched this great show I did not care whether or not a black man had the lead. Dennis Haysbert has always been one of my favorite actors, thankfully you didn’t call him an african american cause I’m pretty sure he was born right here in the good old U.S. of A. Get over the color stuff guy, in case you have not noticed most of us in the popular age bracket for this show already have unless it comes up by someone like you. For those that haven’t gotten over it, I doubt either you or I hang with them too much. Haysbert is just a good actor, he played the President in season one of 24. I think in real life he would do a helll of a lot better than that donkey Obummer. I cricitize Obummer cause I think he is an IDIOT, not because he is a black man.

  13. Anonymous says

    Nice, let’s keep the other crap on air and get rid of good shows like “The unit” the people that cancelled it are morons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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