USA Network Pulls Plug on The Dead Zone, The 4400

USA Network is ending long-running series The Dead Zone and The 4400, not picking up either Sunday-night drama for new seasons.

The decision was not surprising -- each had a successful run, but both fell off during the past season and the NBC Universal-owned cable network has a slew of newer series in its stable.

The Dead Zone premiered as basic cable’s most-viewed series ever at the time in June 2002, with 6.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. By season four, it was averaging 3.4 million viewers, and in its sixth and final season this summer, it drew about 2.1 million.

The 4400 premiered in July 2004 as a six-hour limited series and bested The Dead Zone’s premiere showing with 7.4 million viewers, and USA promptly green-lit it to series. Season two averaged 3.9 million viewers, season three 3.2 million and the fourth and final season this summer pulled an average 2.1 million.

With a slew of other shows to likely to premiere this summer (pending, of course, changes brought on by the ongoing writers’ strike), it would have been financially taxing for USA to keep up production on both series, especially given that the ratings showed waning interest from audiences.

While the network hasn’t nailed down scheduling yet for its summer shows, it is teeing up new drama In Plain Sight; second seasons of last summer’s limited The Starter Wife and Burn Notice; a third season of Psych; and possibly a seventh season of Monk. Contracts on the veteran Tony Shalhoub show were being negotiated at the onset of the writers’ strike.

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