ABC has made an early announcment that the British series remake, Life on Mars, will be canceled at the conclusion of the first season. The show has been plagued with a huge loss of ratings in the second half of the season, after it moved to Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT, following Lost in what has become known as the timeslot of death. ABC’s new series, The Unusuals, will take Life on Mars time slot in April.
Network insiders said that they were fans of the show and every satisfied with the creative direction that Life on Mars took, however the low ratings simply didn’t warrant a second season. The most recent ratings had Life on Mars averaging just 2.0 rating/ 5 share among adults 18-49, a key demographic, and only 5.5 million viewers. The show was losing almost 38% of its Lost lead-in audience, and had dropped more than 40% since the first half of the season.
Life on Mars is centered around Sam Tyler, a cop from the present day who is hit by a car and wakes up in 1973. The show has danced around Sam either being crazy, in a coma and simply dreaming, as well as actually traveling to the past for some unknown reason. It was based on a BBC series with the same name.
Five more episodes of the show remain, and the early announcement by ABC allows the producers to put together a solid finale that will give fans of the show some closure on exactly what has been happening to Sam Tyler. The 17 episode first season gives the U.S. version of the show exactly one more episode than its BBC counter-part, the difference being that the British version was always only intended for 16 episodes. The U.S. version had hoped to last for several years.
Life on Mars stars Jason O’Mara, Gretchen Mol, Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli and Jonathan Murphy. Executive Producers are Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg, who already have a new ABC pilot in the works, called “Happy Town.”
The final episodes of Life on Mars are expected to air in April.