The John Wells-produced series had previously been moved from a start during premiere week but was pushed back to Oct. 23. It already shot six episodes for this season, but it is not clear when those will air. Wells says he is actively seeking other outlets for the show.
The Warner Bros. TV show had started off well when it premiered midseason in the Thursday 10pm time period, succeeding ER, also exec produced by Wells. Ratings erosion couldn't be avoided, however, despite solid reviews.
And now, there is the Jay Leno Show factor: NBC no longer has the 10pm slots available and has had to push everything up by an hour. The show's content was deemed too dark and gritty for broadcast TV, especially for 9pm, The Hollywood Reporter notes.
"I'm disappointed that NBC no longer has the time periods available to support the kind of critically acclaimed series that was for so many years, a hallmark of their success," Wells said. "We remain extremely proud of Southland and are actively looking for another home for the series."
In the meantime, NBC will air Dateline NBC in the Friday 9pm time slot.
NBC said it will do its best to air the Southland episodes that have already been shot and that the quality of the show wasn't a factor in the decision, Variety reports.
The actors will remain under contract for a while. Variety also notes that a possible future home for the show could be ABC, which has long been in the hunt for a cop franchise and may have some interest in Southland on the strength of the show's critical buzz.
The cancellation of Southland makes this the first time that Wells has not had a show at NBC in the past 15 years.