Justified Axed After Four Weeks
Hopes of TV One screening season two of Justified in HD have been shot down with the network axing its Thursday night run.
The highly acclaimed crime drama, which has been nominated for four Emmy Awards, will be replaced by yet another British reality series, Motorway Cops, from August 4, which means this week’s episode will be the last to air at 9.30pm.
The news is a blow for anyone who laments the lack of quality drama in primetime – but isn’t surprising given the show’s 25-54 rating sunk below 4% last week, or a third of the viewership that tuned into lead-in My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
More surprising was Justified’s scheduling in what’s been a factual entertainment slot on the back of another fact ent hour – which means it wasn’t programmed where viewers expect to see quality drama on TV One, minimising its chances of finding the audience it deserves.
However, given that network’s schedule is now virtually wall-to-wall reality TV, there are few slots open to quality drama in peak-hour, and those dramas that do air at 8.30pm or 9.30pm, like Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour, scarcely qualify as quality.
TVNZ has yet to advise when Justified will return but expect it to be post-11pm.
As for the prospect of season two airing in HD, it now seems unlikely it even will be picked up given the show was acquired on the open market and not through any of TVNZ’s output deals.
Moreover, if TVNZ does continue the series beyond season one, it won’t be in HD as the broadcaster is unwilling to pay the extra handling and transmission costs of HD for off-peak content.
Also don’t hold out hope for a NZ Blu-ray release, given Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released the series only on DVD in the UK and has distributed other HD shows, like Breaking Bad and Nurse Jackie, only on DVD here.