The Little Show That Could: Southland

Very rarely is a show left for dead given a second life.  And typically when that second life does come along, it certainly does not last for very long.  Yet the renewal of Southland proves that there is always an exception to the rule.

For those not in the know, Southland debuted in the spring of 2009 and aired seven episodes in its first season before being renewed by the at the time NBC president Ben Silverman.  The next fall, most famous for the debut of the primetime Jay Leno Show, Southland was cancelled before ever airing an episode in its second season.

To the rescue was the studio that owned the show, Warner Brothers, and a channel in the Time Warner stable, TNT, which picked up Southland and aired the original seven episodes plus the six episodes that had been produced prior to NBC’s cancellation.  With slowly but steadily improving ratings, Southland was given a ten episode, third season order that aired earlier this calendar year.  The fourth season pickup was made official this week.

The ironic note in this entire story is that the cancellation by NBC potentially has allowed the show to continue on rather than being cancelled after airing in its assigned Friday night slot on NBC in 2009.  Maybe it would have rated strong enough to survive and been put back into production to fill the suddenly gaping holes on NBC’s schedule due to the Conan-Jay Apocalypse last year.  But the odds were against.  The rest is, as the say, history and we still have the chance to watch the best cop drama on television in years.

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