Though it shares its name with a classic novel, WGN America‘s Outsiders has nothing to do with 1960’s greasers with names like Ponyboy. The show follows a clan of Kentucky mountain folk who have lived in an isolated society for hundreds of years and find themselves at war with a mining company. The show was WGN America’s third original series, but it seems like that alone isn’t enough to keep the show alive. The network is opting to cancel the series, meaning it’s April 25 season finale might become its series finale — on WGN America, at any rate.
Deadline reports that WGN America has canceled Outsiders, which was just a few weeks away from its Season 2 finale. However, not is all lost and word on the street is that Sony TV (who produces the show) is going to shop it around, although, the last minute cancellation makes that difficult to do. What’s interesting about the cancellation though, is that it seems to have very little to do with the ratings of the show — it was actually one of the network’s most watched shows last month — but with a behind-the-scenes shifting within WGN America.
WGN America recently posted its most watched primetime month in history. Much of that ratings goodness was contributed by the network’s remaining original series, Outsiders and Underground. On Tuesday nights, Outsiders averages 1.3 million viewers, which is an increase over the networks prior viewer average. So, if it’s one of the best performers, why cancel it? WGN America has seen a leadership change over the past few months. Tribune (which owns WGN) President and CEO, Peter Liguori, shepherded the network’s relaunch as a premium cable provider with original series programming. He left Tribune last month, and now Peter Kern is steering the ship in a new direction.
In a statement that was released alongside the Outsiders cancellation, Kern stressed that they would “be reallocating our resources to a more diverse programming strategy and to new structures.” To “free up the resources” needed to do this, Outsiders was canceled.
That’s a shame, because Outsiders sure sounds like an interesting show. Outsiders follows the Farrell clan, who have isolated themselves from normal society and live up in their own community in the Appalachia mountains. The mountain, however, is rich in coal, and when a mining company calls for the Farrells to be evicted, the result is a bloody war with a small neighboring town caught in the middle. The show starred Joe Anderson, Gillian Alexy, David Morse, Ryan Hurst, and Thomas M. Wright.