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Why Did FX Cancel Terriers?

Why did FX cancel Terriers? It seems like an easy enough question to answer — after rough ratings on the series premiere that only declined as the season progressed, some have called Terriers a victim of bad marketing. But creator Ted Griffen feels that the reasons for euthanizing his critically acclaimed series are less tangible than that.

“I think marketing, like TV show making, is an inexact science,” he told HitFix. “You can conjecture whether it was the title or the poster of the lack of a high concept to the very idea of the show that failed to hook an initial audience. That was our sole failure: hooking an initial audience. We launched horribly. That’s my heartbreak. Given that it’s television, I had hoped we would have more time than a movie does for word of mouth to take over. We got great word of mouth, but it didn’t come on strong like I hoped it would. I can’t blame an audience. I’ve never in my life watched a TV show in its first season. I always have to wait several seasons for someone to say, ‘You have to see this.’ That’s how I discovered The Wire and The Shield. I don’t know the secret to getting people to watch a show in its first season.”

Griffen wouldn’t lay the blame on FX executives, either, describing a peaceful last meeting with network president John Landgraf, an outspoken supporter of the show, despite its awful ratings.

“I don’t think this thing would’ve been nearly as good were it not John Landgraf,” he said. “We all had the same dog being put down. He went through [the reasons for cancellation] in a lot of detail. My proudest moment was I said, ‘It’s fine by me if we stop doing the autopsy and start doing the wake.’ He was showing how the pulse was dead, it wasn’t breathing… It was the most amicable breakup of my life.”

“It’s like putting a dog down,” he summarized of the experience of losing Terriers. “I knew it was limping, I knew it wasn’t in good health, but it was still really tough to euthanize it. But in dog years, our show lasted seven seasons.”

Check out the full interview for more from Griffen, including how he would have tied up some of the show’s loose ends in future seasons, and make sure to read Kevin Melrose’s own eulogy of a great show that was canceled far too soon.


  • tom

    Because it was Tim Minear’s latest gig, duh. There hasn’t been a show since Angel with his name attached that wasn’t a) awesome and b) cancelled within a year.

  •!/WarmOtter Matt Rower

    Also, there’s the fact that it starred Donal Logue, who can’t seem to get on a show that lasts since Grounded for Life ended…

  • Pissed Off In Boulevard

    It’s a sad commentary when most of the population would rather watch fluff like “Dancing With The Stars” or other mundane “reality” shows than some serious television. I absolutely loved “Terriers” and will miss it greatly.

  • Jcarbon

    My friends and I are so sorry that Terriers has been canceled. We are holding out hope that another station will back the show. I think the show is just too smart for most people – You actually have to pay attention. I wish the whole cast well.

  • Sylogos

    I will really miss this show. I watched every episode and looked forward to each and every one. Boooooooooooooooooo!!!

  • Bill james

    another reason could be that millions of dish viewers were cut off for several weeks during the dispute with fox. it’s too bad such a great show was canceled. for the sake of great television, please re-consider. bill james.

  • SmashingMonkey

    Why did FX cancel Terriers? Easy. Because FX is a whore. Terriers was a great program. One of the best stories being told on television. But it wasn’t making enough money. And, like most corporate whores, that is all FX cares about. Don’t let Landgraf fool you with his “it’s a darn shame” routine. FX absolutely could have stuck by this great show and given it another run.

  • SmashingMonkey

    I’d kill to get another season of Terriers or Wonderfalls. Minear rocks.

  • Guest

    Probably 1 of 3 shows I’ve liked in the last ten years.

  • Kellibliss

    i loved Terriers and had no idea the show ended I am so not happy!