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October 13, 2015

'Lone Star' Canceled, But Fox Could've Saved It

by Allison Waldman, posted Sep 29th 2010 2:30PM
lone_star_fox_2010As Maureen Ryan reported yesterday, Fox has axed 'Lone Star' because of poor ratings. Despite pleas from the Kyle Killen, one of the creators of the Texas-tinged soapy drama, the low viewership for Monday night's second installment was a death blow.

Fox felt they had no choice but to drop the show in favor of 'Lie to Me,' which takes over the Monday 9PM ET time slot.

For the record, in week one, 'Lone Star' netted 4.1 million total viewers, while week two was down to 3.2 million. Still, was cancellation the only solution for Fox? We don't think so; the network had options. Here's four ways the network might have saved or kept 'Lone Star' on the air ... at least for a while.

1. Move it to another spot on the Fox lineup

'Lone Star' was the kind of show that needed time to develop. It's a character-driven program all about the art of the con. The network knew that going in, and yet the programmers placed it in the über-competitive Monday night where it was facing the likes of NBC's new thriller, 'The Event'; the long-running and highly rated 'Two and A Half Men' and new Chuck Lorre sitcom 'Mike & Molly'; as well as the second hour of ABC's blockbuster, 'Dancing With the Stars.'

It was a suicide move by Fox. Also, 'Lone Star' was filling the spot that '24' had occupied, making it counter-intuitive to Fox viewers who were used to looking for brutal Jack Bauer -- but got sensitive conman Bob Allen instead.

2. 'Lone Star' could go to FX

There would be much less pressure to perform on FX when it comes to viewership numbers and Nielsen ratings. Yes, the producers would probably have had to cut the budget, but it could have been an answer or at least an alternative. On FX, shows like 'Justified,' 'Rescue Me' and even 'Terriers' have been given a chance because FX isn't run like Fox. Perhaps 'Lone Star' could still make that jump ...

3. Shelve it for a while

If Fox had enough faith in the quality of the 'Lone Star' to put it on the fall schedule, why cancel it without trying to save it at all? Fox could shelve the program for now and relaunch it in the spring. Reintroduce the show during a less competitive time of the year and present the show from the beginning so people can get the full run.

And if Fox really wants to give it a great boost, pair it with the biggest lead-in on the schedule -- "American Idol." Airing behind 'Idol' did wonders for 'Glee,' which was a show that also needed special handling, not unlike 'Lone Star.'

4. Show some patience

Fox has a history of showing patience with programs it believes in. Think about 'The Good Guys,' which is severely ratings-challenged, and 'Fringe,' which has experienced a slow climb to ratings stability. Fox should show the same kind of patience for 'Lone Star.' It's essentially a soap opera and those types of programs need time to find an audience. 'Knots Landing,' which was a spin-off of 'Dallas,' failed to take off right from the start. CBS had to nurture the show, and that's what Fox should be doing with 'Lone Star.'

'Lone Star,' unfortunately, suffered when media reports of terrible ratings led to immediate talk of cancellation. The bad press squelched hope for more viewers tuning in for week two. Who would risk getting hooked on a show that was doomed? Fox needed to send a positive message of support and patience. Instead, they did nothing to help the show.

Was 'Lone Star' worth saving? What could Fox have done to help the show survive?

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B. Prather

I recorded the first episode of Lone Star and just recently watched it. The pilot was so intriging, really hooked me. I was so upset to find out it was cancelled after only 2 episodes. Does anyone do that??? Yet you're still showing the awful "Lie to Me," among others! I hope a cable network takes it and it's the successful it would have been had you showed a little faith.

November 04 2010 at 7:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Give it another shot fox.

October 23 2010 at 6:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fox is not thinking...I told all my friends to watch "LONE STAR", I thought it was great,different. Not everyone likes comedies. I'm so done with "American Idol" and I won't watch "Lie to Me", for the simple reason it replaced "LONE STAR". Why don't you give people a chance to find a show before pulling it.

October 23 2010 at 6:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

im PISSED i literally waited for 3 months just to watch it and LOVED the first episode, next thing you know after watching episode 2 i come to find out they've canceled it. Now why in the hell would they wanna do that? Oh and Cheryl who cares what crysis the countries in, everyday i hear on CNN about banks getting robbed and ppl running scams, doesnt mean im going to do the samething? you see its idiots like you that ruin the good stuff for working ppl like me who all i want to do was come home and watch Lonestar BUT noooo... F*

October 15 2010 at 9:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Phyllis Caldwell

I thought this was a great show---had a lot of promise. It had a lot of good actors including two veterans plus John Wolk was a very handsome newcomer. They placed Lone Star against that powerhouse juggernaut of Dancing With the Stars, and it didn't stand a chance. Can't they just move it to another night and give it a chance to find its audience? It really looked like a refreshing new idea on t.v. Everything is either cop shows with procedurals or reality tv or dumb old sitcoms! Please keep this show on somewhere on t.v. It looked really interesting and like it was going to be a lot of fun to watch!!!

September 30 2010 at 11:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I believe Fox intended to air only two episodes of Lone Star. I'm serious.

September 30 2010 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I didn't watch it but it is ridiculous to cancel a show after only 2 airings.

September 30 2010 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was looking forward to this show this season. Have been enjoying it quite a bit. I actually opted to watch this and DVR "The Event". Sad to see it go. I agree with the writer that FOX shouldn't even have bothered if they had no intention of giving this show time to grow. It's not like a comedy or rapid-fire action show. Right out of the gate you know whether a comedy is funny or not or a "24"-type show is action packed enough or not.

Folks are too spoiled with instant gratification these days. A show like "Lone Star" needs 2-3 episodes just to establish a decent back story and for character development. I'll keep my fingers crossed that they'll bring it back in Spring or revive it on FX. As far as having a protagonist who is a con artist in this economy in irrelevant. The whole point of the show was that he had been RAISED to con people. BUT as he's gotten older- as the saying goes - "when he knew better, he did better". The second episode was all about the beginnings of his plan to go straight and get out of the life he's been leading - even at the expense of alienating his only real family, his father. (the perfectly cast David Keith)

Hope FOX reconsiders...

September 30 2010 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sorry, but cheating sleaze-bags just aren't in fashion lately. I don't think the concept appealed to most people. Maybe they should take the viewpoint of the victims instead of trying to glorify the villains...

September 30 2010 at 8:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I had made up my mind to try to tape and/or watch all the new shows this season. I did watch the first episode of Lone Star, and did not feel it would last.
The premise of the show was a bit absurd, and for awhile I felt I was getting into another LOST---which I cut off after the first few episodes as I had not a clue what was going on. By the end of the show, I grasped what was going on...I might add that David Keith is one of my favorite actors..and hopefully they can find another show for him...however, I knew I would not be watching the 2nd episode. It MAY have succeeded had it not been in the same time spot as other popular shows. Am still trying to "figure out" THE EVENT..which I heard Jason Ritter on the Good Morning show comment that no one on the show actually knew what "The Event" was...I love all those characters and hope they answer some questions about that one SOON!!!!

September 29 2010 at 6:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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