Pay cable network Starz has canceled Kelsey Grammer ‘s “Boss” because its second season clocked fewer viewers than its first.
The second season, ended in mid October, averaged about 940,000 viewers across multiple plays for its 18 episodes – not that much worse than the ratings for Starz’ “Magic City.”
On the other hand, Starz only had domestic rights on “Boss” while it owns “Magic City” outright, giving it the financial benefit of overseas sales dollars. You do the math.
In August, at Summer TV Press Tour 2012, during a “Boss” Q&A, creator Farhad Safinia siad he was “heartbroken” at the show’s first-season ratings, saying it “deserves a larger audience,” while Grammer played the king and took a phone call on stage from his wife, irking a hotel ballroom’s worth of TV critics who might have been in a position to help goose the second season’s ratings. Too late now.
Grammer believes he did not get an Emmy nomination for his first season on “Boss” because he’s a Republican.
The series starred Grammer as a Chicago mayor suffering secretly from a neurological disorder. The show opened with a bang, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht having gone ahead and ordered a second season before the first even premiered in October of ’11.
News of “Boss’s” ouster is the latest in a string of changes at Starz. A couple weeks earlier, Albrecht, former head guy at HBO, hired HBO research and scheduling veteran Dave Baldwin to be the network’s exec vp of program planning. At the same time, Stephan Shelanski, who’d been with Starz since its launch in the mid ‘90s and oversaw original programming and film acquisitions, was bid adieu.
Back in September, Albrecht picked up a British crunch-gravel drama called “White Queen” -- 1400’s England, at war for nine years over who is the rightful King, young and handsome Edward IV looks like the winner, only he goes and marries a young widowed commoner whose mom is a sorceress – hate when that happens – blah, blah, blah.
Anyway, it’s based on the historical novels by Philippa Gregory which sold like gangbusters. And – here’s the point – Albrecht brought in former HBO Films prez Colin Callender to exec produce the series, and also handed Callender a two-year deal and made him an exec producer in charge of goosing ratings on “Magic City,” where he’ll work closely with HBO vet (and now managing director original programming at Starz) Carmi Zlotnik.
Quite the HBO Old Home Week going on at Starz.