Ian McShane on Deadwood's early grave
As you may recall, Deadwood was nixed by HBO because of their supposed enthusiasm for Milch's next project John from Cincinnati. HBO offered Milch six episodes to wrap the series up. He refused, opting instead for two two-hour films that he felt might let him bring the series to a proper close.
McShane sheds a little light on this as well. The way our man Swearengen figures it HBO canceled the series because it was produced by Paramount, which was taking most of the show's back-end profits for itself. Because of the level of freedom Milch and his crew were given, the show was expensive to film and not making HBO a whole lot of cash. McShane chalks up the show's premature end to "some bean counter." I think what he meant to say was "some hoopleheaded cocksucking bean counter."