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Briarpatch will not return to USA Network.
The drama starring Rosario Dawson and from exec producers Andy Greenwald and Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot) completed its 10-episode first season in April. The series, based on the Ross Thomas novel of the same name, told a complete story in its first season and was billed as anthology.
Sources tell THR that in success, Briarpatch would have gone on to score a second season. The Chris McCumber-led basic cable network, however, did not ask to hear a pitch for a possible second offering of the series.
“[T]his is 10 episodes, the story’s complete,” Dawson told reporters in January at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour. “It’s not like you’re going to be left on a cliffhanger.”
Produced in-house at Universal Content Productions, the series launched to strong reviews — it has a 78 percent and 88 percent rating among critics and viewers, respectively, on RottenTomatotes.com — but struggled to cut through and wrapped with a series low and average of 434,000 same-day viewers.
Greenwald said in a tweet Friday that he’d known for months that the series wouldn’t return, “but it’s still a bummer,” although he also noted that he just extended his deal at UCP and is working on other projects.
“But, let’s be honest, nothing will ever compare to my first time,” he wrote. “So won’t you join me in raising a glass or three to to the good people of Saint Disgrace, Texas? As the sign on the way into town says, ‘It stays with you.’ It sure does.”
With Briarpatch and Mr. Robot now having run their courses, USA Network no longer has any series from Esmail, who is next focused on Peacock’s Angelyne (which had to stop production amid the novel coronavirus pandemic) and Battlestar Galactica. Esmail remains one of NBCUniversal’s most valued producers and inked a new four-year overall deal with UCP in early 2019 that was valued in the high eight-/low nine-figure range.
USA Network’s scripted originals have continued to dwindle as the cabler shifts focus to unscripted. USA earlier this week abandoned plans for Evel, a limited series starring Milo Ventimiglia. USA’s scripted roster now consists of Queen of the South, anthology The Sinner (which, like Briarpatch, was originally envisioned as a one-season show); and anthology Dirty John. The latter, an import from Bravo, ended its run this week and is awaiting word on its future. USA will be a home for Chucky, which was picked up to series at Syfy and will air on both NBCU-owned networks.
Greenwald’s full statement is below.
— Andy Greenwald (@andygreenwald) July 17, 2020
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