NBC cancels Ben McKenzie drama 'Southland' before its season premiere

benmckenzie.jpgPoor Ryan Atwood.

NBC's "Southland," which premiered to solid numbers after "ER" went off the air last spring, has just been axed even before its fall debut.

Originally set to start on Fridays this September, NBC pushed its season opener to October 23rd, and though six new episodes of the series have been produced, it doesn't look like audiences will be seeing them anytime soon.

No official word as to why "Southland" has been canceled so prematurely, but rumor has it, the network feels "Dateline" -- which is now airing in what would have been the drama's time slot -- is more reliable and will deliver more consistent ratings. 

The show, produced by John Wells and starring Ben McKenzie -- best known for his days in "The O.C." -- could still be picked up by a cable network though.

Any thoughts?

Sorry to see "Southland" go so quickly?

Upset that NBC didn't even give audiences a shot to find it this season?


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