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USA cancels Atlanta-shot "Necessary Roughness" after three seasons

Callie Thorne

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USA has spiked "Necessary Roughness" despite okay ratings.

The show, technically based in New York but shot in Atlanta, debuted in 2011 to strong viewership, averaging more than 4 million viewers in overnight ratings. But in its second season, those numbers fell sharply to about 2.5 million, Surprisingly, USA gave the show a third season but retooled it.

Callie Thorne ("Rescue Me") began the series as a recent divorcee who ended up working as a therapist for a football team. For season three, she began working instead at a high-powered talent agency led by a charismatic figure named Connor played by "Full House" star John Stamos. A couple of weaker characters were cut.

Sony, the production company, spent well into the six figures creating a fancy set for Stamos' agency at Stageworks. The other sets were at EUE Screen Gems. The practice field for the fictional football team was at Clark Atlanta University.

Overnight ratings did not go up but counting DVR usage, the show averaged a respectable 3.8 million viewers. Those DVR numbers may have been why USA took so long to decide whether to keep the show around or not.

One possible problem: Stamos was committed to an NBC series that originally did not get picked up for the 2013-14 season but is being retooled and may actually come to be. Called "I Am Victor," Stamos plays an L.A. divorce attorney. If NBC decided to pick that show up, he wouldn't have been able to do "Necessary Roughness."

But the last story I could find about "I Am Victor" dates back five months so I have no idea if NBC is moving forward on this project. I will update this if I get any sense this was a reason why USA chose not to move forward.

“We are proud of this show and its writers, which had a unique ability to address topical subjects before they unfolded in real life on the sports pages," USA wrote in a statement about "Necessary Roughness." "We want to thank [series creators] Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro, the incredible cast led by Golden Globe nominee Callie Thorne and our partners at Sony Television.”

Thorne, in a series of tweets, thanked everyone on the cast: "Bidding farewell to Necessary Roughness and the three years I was blessed to have. This show was bound together with the blood, sweat, laughter and tears of an outstanding group of creators, producers, directors, designers, actors, an unparalleled crew, tried and true fans," she wrote. "Any and all of whom I would be lucky to call a friend. I will miss all of you terribly. And as my old pal Dr. Seuss likes to say: Don't cry because it's over -- smile because it happened. #Danicoforever"

Another factor in its demise: USA has a heavy slate of new dramas in the pipeline, plus several successful shows already on air, including "Covert Affairs," "Royal Pains," "Graceland," "Suits" "White Collar" and its longest-running show "Psych."

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