In a statement, the network said: "TNT has been proud to be a part of 'Men of a Certain Age' for two seasons. While the show has featured great storytelling and impeccable performances, the audience simply hasn't built to the point where we can continue the series. This was an extremely difficult decision for us. We wish Ray Romano, Mike Royce and the terrific cast and crew of 'Men of a Certain Age' the very best and look forward to exploring new programming possibilities in the future."
Truth be told, this one really hurts. A lot.
As a critic, it literally makes me feel ill when shows like 'Terriers' and 'MOACA' get canceled ('Rubicon' is another recent short-lived show I could put on that list). To see nuanced, wonderfully performed, character-driven shows get kicked to the curb isn't just upsetting, it makes me wonder, "Is this what happens to the good stuff? Don't shows like this ever get to have healthy, or at least respectable, life spans?"
The existence of 'Friday Night Lights,' which got a Best Drama Emmy nomination Thursday and closes out a five-season run on NBC Friday, should, I suppose, give me hope, but it's especially painful when cable networks dump good shows. I almost expect shows like 'Lone Star' to die on the broadcast networks, but the cable networks are the ones that are supposed to be out there on the edge, finding compelling new stories and characters and nurturing the shows that are unique.
But maybe the story here is that TNT was never a good fit for 'MOACA.' It was something of an odd duck on the network, which has relied on crowd-pleasing procedural fare for the most part. As Myles McNutt perceptively wrote earlier in the week, when a wave of Save 'MOACA' pieces came out, TNT isn't necessarily in the business of producing quality entertainment, at least not the kind of top-notch dramas we see on AMC, HBO and FX.
"'Men of a Certain Age' may be a decidedly quality program, but it definitely doesn't seem like the kind of show that TNT wants to build their brand around in the future," McNutt said.
We know that's true now.
With 'The Closer' ending soon, TNT was at something of a crossroads. It could have chosen to nurture 'MOACA,' which would have never been the network's flagship, but it would have been a signal to the world that the network was seriously interested in pursuing a relationship with viewers of networks such as AMC, Showtime, Starz, FX and HBO.
And after completely bungling the second season of 'MOACA' by showing it in two different sections and barely promoting it, I think the network frankly owed the show another chance. I truly believe that the show's ratings problems were partially caused by TNT's confusing, unhelpful marketing of the show and its weird airing pattern.
But I wrote up all the reasons why I thought the show deserved a second season in this piece. All the reasoning of many critics who advocated for the show clearly fell on deaf ears. And at this stage, I'm honestly that much less interested in seeing what kinds of shows TNT comes up with next, because they'll never be as good as 'Men.'
Most of the cable networks I mentioned above are interested in creating characters that people can invest in. As it often reminds us, even USA is interested in that. But with TNT, the shows are clearly built around sturdy concepts, not interesting people. Once Joe, Owen, Terry and Brenda Leigh are all gone, it'll be clear that he characters come second (or third or fourth) on TNT.
So now that TNT has shown me that it's not interested in emotionally moving me in any major way with its fare, I'm not sure why I should help them get the word out about the next cop procedural they come up with. Not that they need critics' help, of course. I'm sure they'll continue to do just fine on their own.
In any event, if I'm able to speak with co-creator Mike Royce and find out if there are any plans to shop the show to another network, I'll append that information here.
I'm sorry, 'MOACA.' You deserved -- and deserve -- a better home.
Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.