'John' is out of the game

But HBO, Milch still surf together

The wave has crashed for "John From Cincinnati."

A day after the first-season finale of "John," HBO on Monday canceled the dark surfing drama but is staying in business with the show's co-creator, David Milch.

Milch, who also created the critically praised HBO drama "Deadwood," is in the process of extending his existing development deal with the premium cable network that runs through August 2008. He already is working on several new projects.

Labeled by critics as "strange," "weird" and "unlikable," "John" never clicked with viewers despite a strong marketing campaign and such well-known leads as Rebecca De Mornay and Bruce Greenwood.

For the few devoted fans of the show, which Milch created with "surf noir" author Kem Nunn, the mysterious final line in the season finale — John saying, "Mother of God, Cass-Kai" over a shot of Kai (Keala Kennelly) surfing — will remain just that, a mystery.

Meanwhile, HBO is yet to make a decision on the fate of its other freshman series that debuted this summer, the comedy "Flight of the Conchords."

It's been a rough summer for HBO, while basic cable networks have launched a slew of hit new scripted series — USA Network's "Burn Notice," Lifetime's "Army Wives" and TNT's "Saving Grace," all renewed for a second season.

HBO's upcoming series include the drama "In Treatment," the comedy "12 Miles of Bad Road" and "True Blood," the recently picked-up vampire drama by "Six Feet Under" creator Alan Ball.