USA Kills ‘Dead Zone,’‘4400’

Two of USA Network’s long-running original series, 4400 and Dead Zone, will not return for new seasons in 2008, according to USA Network officials.

Dead Zone, which starred Anthony Michael Hall as a man with psychic powers, debuted in 2002 as basic cable’s most-viewed series ever at the time with 6.4 million viewers but suffered gradual audience declines over its six year run. The one-hour drama finished its final season this past summer averaging 2.3 million viewers –well below the 4.1 million the show garnered in its first season, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The 4400, which chronicled the lives of 4,440 people who returned to earth after being abducted by aliens, actually outdistanced Dead Zone’s series debut viewership record in 2004 by pulling in 7.4 million viewers in the first of its six-episode limited season. Overall, The 4400’s freshman season averaged 6.1 million viewers, but the series could only muster 2.4 million viewers on average in its fourth and final season this past summer.     

“We wish we could keep all our great shows alive forever, but we feel we need to give some of our new shows a platform to grow,” Jeff Wachtel, USA executive vice president of original programming, said in a statement. “It's with great sadness that we say goodbye to two shows that had a great run and helped create the resurgence of original programming on our network and on all of cable.”

USA’s other series, writers strike permitting, would include a seventh season of Monk, a third season of Psych and the sophomore run of Burn Notice. Its new entries are In Plain Sight, To Love and Die and The Starter Wife, which emanated from the limited series the “characters” network premiered last May and June.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.