“The Chicago Code” is an unfortunate casualty of Fox’s cancellation spree

11 05 2011

"The Chicago Code"

Fox goes on a cancellation spree, and it’s not a good not to be Shawn Ryan. Full story after the jump…

News broke last night, May 10th, that Fox had cancelled five of their “on the bubble”* shows. Fox cancelled three of its primetime dramas: “Human Target,” “Lie To Me,” and one of my favorite current network dramas, “The Chicago Code.” Along with those three dramas went new comedies “Traffic Light” and “Breaking In.” It looks like Fox is making room for a Fall schedule that will feature a lot of Simon Cowell (“The X-Factor”) and lots of special effects (the Spielberg produced “Terra Nova”). Along with those two shows already slated for Fall Fox has picked up a new J.J. Abrams drama, “Alcatraz,” a spin-off of the ever popular “Bones” called “The Finder,” and a sitcom starring the adorable Zooey Deschanel “The New Girl.”

*”On the bubble” is the term often used to describe a show that is in danger of cancellation

Fox is really cleaning house here in order to completely overhaul their Fall schedule, and the network is in a very interesting position to be able to make this huge changes. They have “Glee” and the monster that is “American Idol” and with Cowell’s “The X-Factor” coming in the this September Fox is sure to have singing ratings monsters all season long. Because of this bit of consistency they can really play around with the rest of the schedule. It’s just unfortunate that it comes at the expense of a great drama, “The Chicago Code.”

“The Chicago Code” has never pulled great numbers since premiering in February, though you can’t say Fox didn’t give it a chance. You could tell these executives and this network liked this show as they promoted the heck out of it in the days and weeks leading up to its premiere. “The Chicago Code” even got prime advertising during the Super Bowl, it just never really found an audience. It’s a shame because this has been one of the few network dramas to rise above the procedural┬ámonotony┬áthat litters network television (I’m looking at you CBS with your “CSI’s” and “NCIS’s”).

“The Chicago Code” was trying to tell a deep story, a story that wasn’t going to wrap itself up at the end of an hour, but one that continued on, slowly over the course of the season. Shawn Ryan, creator and executive producer of “The Chicago Code” AND former showrunner of “Lie To Me,” really knows what he’s doing when it comes to these serialized dramas. He’s had both critical and popular success in the past with dramas like “The Shield” and “Terriers” (both on FX). You just watched this show and trusted that Ryan knew what he was doing and this was all leading somewhere. It’s unfortunate that Fox mad the cancellation tonight, unfortunate, yet not that unexpected. The show wasn’t pulling the numbers it needed to and for some reason it could never really hold onto an audience. Though “Fringe” fans tonight must be feeling relieved as Fox renewed “Fringe” weeks ago, even though it has been consistenly pulling numbers lower than some of these cancelled shows.

It sucks, but that’s the business and now we can just look forward to Shawn Ryan’s next project and hope it lasts longer than a season.

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