Karma finally caught up to “My Name Is Earl.”
Twentieth Century Fox TV has announced that talks with Turner to produce more original episodes of the laffer have broken off — and the show has ended its run for good.
NBC canceled the series in May, but 20th hoped to keep the show alive by shopping it to nets such as Fox and ABC before turning to Turner. TBS already runs off-net repeats of “Earl” and both sides crunched the numbers to see if financially the show could hop back into production for the cabler.
Turns out it couldn’t.
“While we had hoped to find a way to produce additional episodes for TBS, in the final analysis we simply could not make the economics work without seriously undermining the artistic integrity of the series,” the studio said. “As none of us, (creator Greg Garcia) included, want the show to go out on anything but a high note, we regret that we must put to rest any speculation that ‘Earl’ will continue.”
The studio said it was “grateful to everyone at TBS for their enthusiasm for the series.”
“Earl” would have entered its fifth season, which is usually the moment when license fees shoot up as costs (such as star salaries) are set to rise. As a single-camera comedy, “Earl” already cost more than a traditional multi-camera sitcom.
Garcia and company would have had to strip as much as $1 million from the show’s weekly budget, which could have meant reducing the show’s cast, its writing team and its production budget.
Ultimately, Garcia and 20th likely believed the show would have wound up being dramatically different.
In a statement, Turner expressed disappointment at the news.
“TBS was in the very early stages of discussions with Fox about ‘My Name is Earl,’ and we are disappointed that we were not able to reach an agreement,” the cabler said.
Garcia exec produced “Earl,” as did Bobby Bowman.
Jason Lee starred as Earl Hickey, a small-time crook whose brush with death turns him on to the idea of karma. He puts together a list of things he’s done wrong over the years and goes about trying to make things right.
Jaime Pressly, Ethan Suplee, Eddie Steeples and Nadine Velazquez also starred.