Instead of pounding the pavement, Southland and John Wells are now eating it instead as NBC has canceled the LAPD drama before a single episode even airs for Season 2, says the LA Times Blog.  Wells previously said this summer that he hoped Leno, who has taken up five programming slots on NBC reserved for dramas with his new primetime variety show, would “fall flat on his face.”  Wells had prefaced the statement by wishing NBC and Leno well on the endeavor, and that he though Leno was a “very nice guy,” but it certainly couldn’t have helped his cause concerning renewal of his show.  

The kicker is, Southland was initially renewed with a 13-episode order by the Peacock.  But upon viewing the first few episodes for the upcoming second season, NBC execs deemed the show “too dark” for TV.  They might also justify it by the fact that the show’s ratings slid steadily during it’s run this past spring.  In a response to the unexpected and rare occurrence of axing a renewed show before it even airs, Wells commented that “I am disappointed that NBC no longer has the time periods available to support the kind of critically acclaimed series that was for so many years the hallmark of their success.”  NBC will instead air another block of Dateline in the show’s place. 

Of course NBC has cut programming slots for Leno in an effort to save money in this down economy, which looking strictly at the beans counted, makes some sort of sense.  But what kind of business model is the Bird network using by canceling the show after renewing the show and footing the bill on production?  Because now NBC will have to eat the costs of producing the shows, both shot and unshot, and also for shutting down production.  If they had canceled after this past season, they would have saved themselves millions, as well as not royally pissed off Wells, who has been one of their greatest producers for years.  Wells said he plans to shop the show to another network. 

Man, I hope it’s all been worth it for Leno and NBC, because a shitload of people are pissed at them, according to a Variety piece.  And I’m sure John Wells has just shot to the top of that list.

Thanks to Brendan for the tip.