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WGN America has canceled one of its first original scripted series.
The network has opted to not move forward with a third season of period drama Manhattan, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
In a statement, WGN America president and GM Matt Cherniss called the move a “very difficult decision,” saying: “We are proud of this critically acclaimed series, an extraordinary original drama, and are deeply disappointed that such a wonderful show could not find a larger audience. We thank the immensely talented Sam Shaw and Thomas Schlamme, along with the exceptional cast and crew and our great partners at Lionsgate and Skydance, for crafting a masterful series. We are equally grateful to the dedicated fans for their support over the last two seasons.”
Added producer and Lionsgate TV chairman Kevin Beggs: “Sam Shaw and Tommy Schlamme gave us a tremendously powerful television series chronicling the lives of those immersed in the race to build an atomic bomb in the dog days of World War II. Their masterful depictions of small victories, devastating betrayals and the high price of freedom will never be forgotten — just as the monstrous power wrought by splitting the atom indelibly scarred our world forever. We are thankful to our partners at Skydance, WGN America, Tribune Entertainment and Hulu for making the series possible and to our many fans in the U.S. and across the globe for watching along with us.”
Manhattan marks the first original scripted series to get the ax at WGNA. The former superstation turned cable network entered the scripted space with witchy drama Salem, which is approaching its third season. The cancellation comes after the cabler’s recent launch of drama Outsiders, which quickly became its most watched original series. WGNA’s scripted roster also includes mini Ten Commandments as well as Titans and Underground.
John Benjamin Hickey (The Big C) starred on the drama as Frank Winter, the professor commissioned to help lead the Manhattan Project. Olivia Williams, Ashley Zukerman and Daniel Stern co-starred. Shaw (Masters of Sex) created the series and exec produced alongside David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross. Emmy-winning helmer Schlamme (The West Wing) was a writer-director. Manhattan was originally picked up straight to series and was a co-production of Skydance Television, Tribune Studios and Lionsgate Television.
Season one of the critical darling averaged 420,000 total viewers. Manhattan barely registered into the top 1,000 shows of 2015. The drama averaged 480,000 viewers, 114,000 of them among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demo.
“It has been an honor to work with the exceptionally talented creative team of Manhattan, led by Tommy Schlamme, Sam Shaw and our partners at Lionsgate, WGN, Tribune and Hulu,” said Skydance TV president Marcy Ross. “Thank you to the fans of Manhattan across the globe who have supported the critically acclaimed series over the last two years.”
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