Universal Channel Drops USA Network’s ‘Graceland’

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Channel is moving out of Graceland. The NBCU owned and operated channel has decided not to acquire any further seasons of the USA Network drama from international distributor Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, TVWise can reveal.

Created by Jeff Eastin, Graceland follows Mike Warren, a rookie FBI agent who is assigned to join a team of agents from the FBI, DEA and Customs living together undercover and under one roof in a California beach house known as “Graceland.” The drama series is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios and stars Daniel Sunjata, Aaron Tveit, Vanessa Ferlito, Brandon Jay McLaren, Manny Montana and Serinda Swan.

Graceland was acquired by Universal Channel in a two-season deal with Fox in September 2013 as part of their drive to find more “character driven” shows following the rebrand, which saw the channel adopt the tagline “100% characters”. But much like Jeff Eastin’s other USA Network drama White Collar, Graceland failed to connect with UK audiences, pulling in soft ratings in both its seasons.

The ratings slipped to around 100K viewers (consolidated) in season two, prompting Universal to pull the show out of prime-time and put it into a late-night slot. Following the ratings slump senior programming execs at Universal decided against renewing the licensing deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, feeling they were best served pursuing new shows rather than continuing with Graceland.

Universal’s decision to drop Graceland, which leaves the series without a UK broadcaster, comes shortly after they extended their licensing deals and secured the UK rights to the new seasons of a number of their top performing shows; including Sleepy Hollow, Major Crimes, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Bates Motel and How To Get Away With Murder. The channel is also expected to pick up at least one new series from the 2015-2016 season following the recent LA Screenings.