FX cancels ‘Lights Out’

Boxing drama starred Holt McCallany

FX has KO’d “Lights Out.”

The drama starring Holt McCallany as a heavyweight boxer making a comeback has been a ratings disappointment for the basic cabler since its Jan. 11 premiere. Net still has a pair of unseen episodes and will air them over the next two weeks in the show’s regular 10 p.m. Tuesday timeslot.

The decision to cancel “Lights Out” was a fairly easy one considering the show — while a hit with most critics — never drew enough viewers to make it a long-term player.

“Lights Out” opened to just under 1.5 million viewers and then fell under the million mark for its second episode, which was a sign the show would struggle. For the season through 11 episodes, “Lights Out” has averaged 863,000 total viewers and 513,000 in the 18-49 demo. Including repeats and video on demand for the week, total viewers rose to 1.1 million.

In comparison, FX’s hit “Justified” averages 2.7 million viewers an episode and 1.3 million in the demo — or about three times the number of “Lights Out.”

“Lights Out” exec producer Warren Leight was hopeful another network might want to consider bringing the show back for a second season. “Friday Night Lights” and “Damages” were brought back from the dead by DirecTV, but the satcaster has said reviving previously canceled shows is no longer part of its programming strategy.

Leight showed no animosity toward the cabler in regards to how the show was produced or marketed.

“I don’t think the show would’ve been as good if it hadn’t been at FX,” Leight explained. “If it had been at another network, I don’t know I would’ve been as happy with it.”FX normally waits until the end of a season to evaluate whether a series will return, but the net is heading into its upfront next week and wanted to clarify the show’s status for advertisers rather than leave it unclear.

This is FX’s second cancellation in recent months of a highly touted drama, following the end of buddy skein “Terriers” in December.

Leight said the news was especially disheartening because of the positive reviews from those who watched. Also irking him are the shows that do succeed compared to the ones, like “Lights Out,” that have a hard time attracting viewers.

“There is some disconnect to the quality of shows and what we’re losing out to,” Leight said. “With all due respect, ‘Cupcake Wars?’ I’m at a loss. I believe there is an aud for this.”