Today NBC came out with its new Fall schedule, and revealed that Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip will not be returning for a second season. NBC premiered the show with a lot of fan-fare back on August 5th 2006, and it got a lot of critical acclaim right out of the gate. The only problem was that the ratings started to dip right away, and eventually almost disappeared all-together. This was not what NBC had been hoping for, eventually putting the show on hiatus, and suspending the showing of some of the late-season episodes until after the Spring Sweeps. This spelled out doom for the show, and when the schedule for next year became public, although it was disappointing, it didn’t come as a shock.
Studio 60 was the latest edgy drama from creator/writer Aaron Sorkin, who became wildly known for his groundbreaking show The West Wing. His other successes have included films such as A Few Good Men and The American President, and another show by the name of Sports Night. Sports Night suffered many of the same problems that Studio 60 has suffered, but what it had going for it was that it didn’t cost quite as much to produce. With Studio 60, there was a large ensemble cast that included the likes of Matthew Perry (Friends), Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), Amanda Peet (The Whole 9 Yards), and Steven Weber (Wings). The premise of the show was that it was a behind-the-scenes look at a comedic-sketch show much like how Saturday Night Live is run. It was presented with a mix of drama and humor that brought many unique storylines for the cast and crew.
Despite the low ratings that Studio 60 was receiving, it still garnered several award nominations, including a golden globe for best actress in a supporting role (Sarah Paulson) and a nomination for best new series by the Writers Guild of America. It was nominations such as these, coupled with praise from many critics for exuding originality that the creators (and NBC) hoped would carry the show into a new season, and help to pick up viewers as the show grew in popularity. On a struggling network, Studio 60 was still able to average 8.5 million viewers per week for the first 16 episodes, but that wasn’t enough for executives to give the go-ahead for a new season.
The remainder of the episodes already filmed for Studio 60 will be aired over the summer months on Thursday nights. While not a particularly grand send-off for a show that devoted fans have come to love; at least it will give some closure to some of the storylines and a last glimpse at what was truly an original television show.