EXCLUSIVE: Starz has decided not to renew comedy series Party Down and Gravity. I hear the pay cable network may make the announcement later today. Both shows were developed and launched by Starz’s previous regime, but new president and CEO Chris Albrecht has stated repeatedly that he is big fan of Party Down. While the off-beat comedy has become an instant cult classic, I hear at the end of the day its appeal was deemed not wide enough to keep the show beyond its recently concluded Season 2. Consider this: The Season 2 finale of Party Down and Season one close of Gravity last week drew a 0.0 rating in adults 18-49 each and total audiences of 74,000 and 54,000, respectively. That is miniscule even for pay cable standards. And the writing has been on the wall: some of the actors on Party Down have already taken other jobs, like Adam Scott, who recently joined NBC’s Parks & Recreation. Starz’s slate has evolved following the breakout success of period drama Spartacus. The pay cable network has focused on dramas with big, recognizable title like the upcoming series Camelot, Torchwood and the Spartacus prqeuel as well as limited series The Pillars of the Earth. Additionally, Starz is developing an U.S. version of the hit Australian mob drama Underbelly.
UPDATE 12PM: Stephan Shelanski, executive vp programming for Starz Entertainment, issued a statement confirming the cancellations. “After careful consideration, we’ve decided not to continue on with subsequent seasons of Party Down and Gravity,” he said. “Starz remains committed to aggressively expanding our original programming lineup.”
Party Down follows six actors and writers as they do their gigs and try for their first big break. The cast of the show, created and primarily written by John Enbom, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge and Paul Rudd, included Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Megan Mullally, Ryan Hansen, Martin Starr and Lizzy Caplan. Gravity focused on an out-patient program for suicide survivors and starred Krysten Ritter, Ivan Sergei and Ving Rhames.