HBO Responds to 'Deadwood' Fans Left Hanging

deadwood-dead.jpgUndoubtedly a segment of Sopranos fans are still grimacing over the abrupt blackout of a series closer, but at least they never got the kick in the ass that fell upon Deadwood watchers. Last week, during an interview with Cinematical, Ian McShane divulged the disappointing news: despite HBO’s claims over the past year that two 2-hour movies were still in the pipeline to endcap the series, in reality the Deadwood set was being torn down. Said McShane, “I just got a call on Friday from … a dear friend of mine, who told me that they’re packing up the ranch. They’re dismantling the ranch and taking the stuff out. That ship is gonna sail. Bonsoir, Deadwood.”

In a follow up story, another castmember – W. Earl Brown, weighed in – unfavorably comparing the cut-off to how The Sopranos went out, saying it was “either great or awful (depending on one’s interpretation of it) but at least it got people talking. Deadwood — it just stopped. Just stopped. It’s like never finding out that ‘Rosebud’ was his sled or that Darth was Luke’s father. F*ck.”

If you recall, at the tail end of the last season, Al Swearengen (McShane) and rival George Hearst (Gerald McRaney, in a career performance) were at odds over the ownership of the mining town, ratcheting up tensions towards a conclusion that may have quite literally set Deadwood ablaze. If a revisit is truly not in the cards, HBO is missing an opportunity to go out with the bang that David Chase either didn’t want, or didn’t know how to produce with The Sopranos closer. I’ve got Deadwood in a three-way tie with network mates The Wire and The Sopranos as TV culture-shapers, and as of today HBO is 0 for 2 with a large number of fans on going out on the right note.

Now, in response to a fan’s written inquiry, HBO recalls the rationale for the cancellations of Deadwood and also that of creator David Milch’s subsequent series, John From Cincinnati. Posted in full on fan site the letter cites a handful of reasons why both series failed to earn new season orders, while offering a glimpse into the decision making processes over at the network when it comes to new and returning shows. HBO says that although they’re “not in the ratings business…each show on the service has to justify its existence since money spent on one show means money unavailable for something else.”

Vulture provides some “PR Flack–to–English” translations of the letter, while taking a few well-aimed swipes at David Milch and a more recent target, Tell Me You Love Me.

Posted by Ted Zee on October 08th 2007 | Home Page | 19 Comments Subscribe to this site's feed

19 Responses

  1. Movies » HBO Responds to ‘Deadwood’ Fans Left Hanging Says:

    […] Erofun wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptLast week, during an interview with Cinematical, Ian McShane divulged the disappointing news: despite HBO’s claims over the past year that two 2-hour movies were still in the pipeline to endcap the series, in reality the Deadwood set … […]

  2. Big Screen Little Screen » Ian McShane in ‘Kings’ for NBC Says:

    […] an almost-absolute certainty that Deadwood will never receive the two, 2-hour movies that we were all promised to wrap up the series, and that is a damn shame. Ian McShane has moved on […]

  3. T...... Says:

    Your FUCKING kidding me!!!!!!

  4. totally unaceptable ...the best western in 20 yrs Says:

    This show needs to be continued for a very long time….its one of the greatest westerns of all time

  5. Tanya Hendrickson Says:

    I’m addicted to deadwood, after spending weeks of limited spare time to view each episode. I can’t imagine life without the grime and grit of deadwood and honestly I feel i need to view each episode again to catch every strategy that went on. while the show was airing I had no idea how clever the characters scripts really were.

  6. Still people are hoping and rewatching until!!!! Says:

    We are still today April, 2011 Deadwood fan hoping there will be a come back a continuation to the story and not feel we are still crying for a sudden death of a good friend.

  7. Stacie Says:

    I hope this show will end with a movie-Still hoping and waiting in 2011-I can’t believe HBO cancelled this one of a kind show. I typically do not like westerns – but the characters in this show have been build so well, it is a shame that we won’t see the story end.

  8. Mina D. Says:

    My husband and I purchased the entire 3-year CD set and after two episodes, we were hooked! Couldn’t get enough of it! Phooie on folks who complain about the supposed racism (historically acurate)and bad language! That’s just ridiculous! We tried to pace ourselves and not watch too many episodes at one time because we realized the series would soon be over and then what would we do? Well, the inevitable happened of course ,and now we’re in total withdrawal! I can’t believe the set has been torn down and the series will be no more! I don’t understand why HBO didn’t think they had a money maker! Look how long Gunsmoke ran and compared to Deadwood, it didn’t hold a candle. Why doesn’t anybody ever ask what the fans think before destroying the set and deciding never to schedule more similar episodes? New backers could produce a secondary series, go directly to the video rental/purchase market and make a fortune from direct sales. Screw HBO and all their idiot sensors and do-gooders. Come on David, find some new backers and produce something for direct distribution! We could buy the episodes from Amazon, for instance. There’s such a huge following, I think it would work! There should be some backers out there who are willing to spend the money on a “sure thing” and besides, it’s safer than the Stock Market!

  9. I hate HBO for taking away Deadwood. The ridiculous realitly shows that are left to watch I hate too. I want Deadwood to come back with a bang. Who made that stupid decision to breakdown the set and do away with it? HBO needs to new blood, some new execut Says:

    I do not have a website

  10. Says:

    Really can’t believe that this show isn’t coming back. This is one if not the greatest show I have ever watched. My wife bought me all three seasons and I think I watched them all in a week. Please give us the ending we all want. I know Tim has his own show on FX (Justified) and its a great show never miss an episode but believe me when I say this its no deadwood.

  11. Tim Says:

    I too have just finished watching all 3 series of Deadwood, and was completely taken in. Visualy incredible, a genuine image of a muddy, dirty, smelly flegling town, with a richness and depth to all characters that makes you want to believe their plight’s and and endevours……And those Cock Suckers can it. I suppose I could just read about the history of Deadwood and make up my own conclusion and…….COCK SUCKERS!!!

  12. Marushka Says:

    Dear hbo is it a question of money?I am willing to help you find the resources you need so i wont have to watch over and over again the best western series i have seen in my life I am a big Sergio leone fan and honestly Deadwood is a master piece.I would like to thank the fabulous crew every thing was perfect ,just wont get over it

  13. HBlO Says:

    F@#&% HB#! Dropped the channel, then cable. The net provides all I need or want. Never again will I spend years deeply involved with a story that vanishes. HBO will never see a dime from me. I’ll just wait until it is completed and pirate the lot.

  14. Berryville Nick Says:

    Well it just shows no one should get too interested in a HBO series. I see HBO as being a bipolar network. Perhaps they get off by jerking the rug out from under us. I dumped HBO and my direcTV service too because of HBO and how they dont seem to care about the viewers..

  15. Cold Phoenix Says:

    Deadwood was by far the best tv series I’ve seen in far too long a time and to see it end like that is unbearable. Its akin to stopping the star wars franchise after empire strikes back. If hbo dosent want to pursue the series then somebody else should. It seems like the cast and crew would be more then willing to resume thier respective roles so why hasn’t anything been done to make this happen? There are so many options that could be pursued if hbo would just step the fuck aside and let it happen

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