June 13, 2012 9:57am PT by Lesley Goldberg , Lacey Rose
Showtime to End 'Weeds' After Season 8
Showtime's Weeds is going up in smoke.
The comedy about a drug-dealing suburban mother (Mary-Louise Parker) will wrap its run after its upcoming eighth season, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
As first reported by EW, the comedy from creator Jenji Kohan and Lionsgate Television was one of the premium cable network's defining series and has picked up Emmy nominations during its run for outstanding comedy series, Parker and former co-star Elizabeth Perkins, among other mentions.
The news comes just days after entertainment president David Nevins ordered his two pilots, Liev Schreiber’s Ray Donovan and Michael Sheen’s Masters of Sex, to series. The pairing, both boundary-pushing dramas, are part of Nevins’ push to broaden the network as he has done with earlier efforts Homeland and House of Lies.
"Weeds has been a seminal series, which was key in establishing Showtime as a home for great original programming," Nevins said in a statement. "It had a groundbreaking run; entering its eighth season, it's one of the longest-running comedies in the history of cable. We all felt that it was the right time and right way to end it. It was very important to us that we bring the story of Nancy Botwin and her family to a satisfying conclusion for the devoted fans that have spent years supporting this series. Jenji has managed to surprise us every step of the way, and I am confident in her plan for a spectacular series end.”
Newer entries including Shameless, House of Lies and Homeland join the longer-running Dexter as the network's top-rated shows. Last season, Weeds averaged roughly 720,000 viewers, according to Nielsen.
The series, which last season jumped ahead three years to find Parker's Nancy released from prison after taking the fall for a murder her son Shane (Alexander Gould) committed, ended with an episode that could have served as a series finale with a sniper likely taking aim at Nancy and a gunshot heard before cutting to black.
Nevins told reporters in January following his presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour that there was a "real possibility" that Season 8 could be the show's last.
Meanwhile, Kohan and co-star Justin Kirk already have begun their post-Weeds careers. The showrunner in March inked a new overall deal with Lionsgate, where she has Orange Is the New Black in the pipeline for Netflilx; Kirk's comedy pilot Animal Practice was ordered to series in May and will launch in the fall on NBC.
For its part, Showtime has given renewal orders to half-hour comedies House of Lies, Nurse Jackie and Episodes, but the fate of Laura Linney starrer The Big C remains in question heading into Sunday's Season 3 finale.
Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com, Lacey.Rose@thr.com
Twitter: @Snoodit, @LaceyVRose