FX has decided to end their Rescue Me series after seven seasons and 93 episodes. The show will go out as it began; closely tied to the events of 9/11.
Rescue Me follows Denis Leary as a hard-living New York fireman who balances the challenges of his stressful job and crazy personal life. The series also features the talents of Diane Farr, Adam Ferrara, Mike Lombardi, James McCaffrey, Jack McGee, Tatum O’Neal, Steven Pasquale, Andrea Roth, John Scurti, Daniel Sunjata, Larenz Tate, Callie Thorne, and Dean Winters.
Though it’s still a high-profile show for FX, Rescue Me’s numbers aren’t nearly as strong as they once were. The first two seasons averaged about 2.7 million viewers per episode. The fifth season has been averaging about 1.4 million and 914,000 in the 18-49 demographic. Variety reports that’s a 38% decline from season four.
The drop in viewership likely comes as a result of the show being off the air for an extended period of time. There was a gap of 18 months between the end of season four and the start of season five, largely due to the writers strike. A series of webisodes were released in 2008 in an attempt to bridge the gap.
In February, months before the premiere of year five, FX announced that Rescue Me had already been renewed for a sixth season of 18 episodes.
Of the early renewal, FX’s President and General Manager John Landgraf said, “Rescue Me is one of the very best series on television and a tentpole program for FX. We’re amazed by the quality of episodes for the upcoming fifth season, which are some of the best they’ve ever produced. I believe this show will continue to maintain a level of excellence for several years to come, and we’re thrilled to pick it up for a sixth season.”
Now that the network has seen the numbers for season five, it seems their enthusiasm has waned and have decided to make the next round the show’s last. But, instead of 18 episodes as previously planned, the final group of episodes has been increased to 19. The extra installment will presumably be used to cap off the series.
Rather than airing all 19 episodes together, the new plan is to break them up into two smaller seasons. Season six will air in 2010 while season seven will be held until 2011. Peter Tolan, the show’s co-creator, says the plan is to run the final episodes to coincide with the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.
Of the final episodes, Tolan told TV Guide that Maura Tierney, who’s featured prominently in next week’s season finale, may pop up for the final episodes. He said, “We loved working with her — that was kind of a big deal to get her… She’s got Parenthood, but I think we have a deal where we can use her for four episodes. And since we have that deal, we will take advantage of it.”
What do you think? Will you be sorry to see Tommy Gavin and the other characters go? How would you like to see the show end?
Image courtesy FX.