Show allowed to sign off with a proper finale

There won’t be “Life on Mars” much longer.

ABC has decided to end the show after a single year — but in an unusual move, the net will keep the show on the air through the end of its full run.

That will give the series a rare opportunity to sign off with a proper finale, wrapping up the series’ core mystery.

Network insiders said they were fans of the show and pleased with its creative chops — but that the ratings ultimately didn’t warrant a second season. The most recent seg of “Life on Mars” averaged just a 2.0 rating/5 share among adults 18-49, as well as 5.5 million viewers.

Five more episodes of “Life on Mars” remain out of the series’ 17-episode order. As previously announced, the show’s Wednesday 10 p.m. slot will go to newcomer “The Unusuals” in April.

Based on the BBC series of the same name, “Life on Mars” centers on a cop who suddenly, mysteriously finds himself transported back to the 1970s, where the rules are dramatically different. Twentieth Century Fox TV and ABC Studios produce.

Showrunners Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg aren’t traveling far: They have the Alphabet pilot “Happy Town” in the works.

“Life on Mars” stars Jason O’Mara, Gretchen Mol, Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli and Jonathan Murphy.

Originally developed and shot in 2007 under David E. Kelley, the show was redeveloped and reshot after Kelley departed. Under the new showrunners, just O’Mara was kept from the original cast; it was also retooled to better reflect the U.K. original.

Beyond Appelbaum, Nemec and Rosenberg, exec producers include Stephen Garrett and Jane Featherstone. Kudos Film & TV, which originated the show in the U.K., is also a producer.

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more