Budget Going South on 'Southland'
Yet more changes are ahead for embattled cop drama 'Southland' as TNT announces big cuts on the show. With the budget for season 3 being slashed by more than 30 percent, many cast and crew may find themselves out of a job while others will face big pay cuts.
Deadline.com reports that executive producer John Wells ('ER') is among those taking a huge pay cut (rumored to be even higher than 30 percent) in order to keep the show on the air. Wells said he hoped that some axed cast members would be able to return to the show as regular or recurring characters. He said the cuts were the result of transitioning a broadcast show to the traditonally lower-budget cable.
Premiered in April 2009, 'Southland' has had a chequered history. Having commissioned a second season in May 2009 NBC first moved it from Thursday to Friday nights on its fall schedule, then delayed the season premiere and finally announced that the series had been canceled. Shortly afterward, TNT bought the rights to air the first season, plus six completed episodes of the unaired second season, and 'Southland' began airing on TNT in January 2010. TNT announced the third season in April 2010.
The show, which takes a "raw and authentic" look at the life and workings of a police unit in Los Angeles, has had critical success but hasn't earned ratings to match. It moved in the second season away from an ensemble cast setting to concentrate on the characters and lives of Detective Lydia Adams (Regina King) and Officer Ben Sherman (Benjamin McKenzie).
King and Michael Cudlitz (Officer John Cooper), have completed their deals to stay with the show, while McKenzie and Shawn Hatosy (Detective Sammy Bryant), both of whom publicly voiced their frustrations over the show's cancellation, are reportedly still in negotiations. Other cast members who may be back for guest duties when season three airs in January 2011 include Kevin Alejandro (Detective Nate Moretta) who is now also a regular on HBOs 'True Blood', and Tom Everett Scott (Detective Russell Clarke).