Deadline is reporting that USA has cancelled thriller Falling Water after two seasons.
Considering the show’s dip below the 0.10 demo line in season two and the fact that 2/3 of its leads have gigs elsewhere (Will Yun Lee on The Good Doctor, David Ajala on Nightflyers), the cancellation isn’t exactly a surprise. Especially with USA doing a bit of a brand refresh and veering away from darker, more serialized dramas with some of its recent pickups. After scoring a surprise second season thanks to an Amazon streaming deal, Falling Water averaged a 0.09 in the demo, down around 35% from season one, and picked up slightly less than 350,000 viewers in L+SD.
In addition to a hiatus that lasted over a year, what hurt the show was the double whammy of a Saturdays at 10:00 time slot and a creative reboot that came with a new showrunner. Interesting here is that part of the show’s reason for staying alive was an engaged, steady audience in season one; Falling Water was never a world beater in the Nielsens, but its brand of trippy weirdness and earnest philosophizing over death, the nature of reality, and fate earned something of a cult audience. USA then had two realistic options – they could keep it airing during the week but try to broaden it out or they could push it to Saturdays and leave it be creatively, thereby satisfying that core audience and banking episodes for the streaming deal.
What they ended up doing was turning off the show’s base audience through a reboot that made it much less distinct and engaging while pushing it to a slot that this broader version of Falling Water wouldn’t garner much in the way of casual viewership. It was a strange strategy that bordered on asinine and as such, the series wasn’t able to make it through to a third season.
The series finale of Falling Water aired Saturday, March 10th on USA.