Accolades, Awards Weren’t Enough to Save Low-Rated ‘Men’

Ray Romano in "Men of a Certain Age" (Photo: TNT)

Hollywood reacted with dismay to the news that the critically acclaimed – but dismally low-rated – Ray Romano series “Men of a Certain Age” had been cancelled.

TNT announced the cancellation Friday afternoon. The series – about three middle-aged men and their aches and pains – won a prestigious Peabody award this year. And one of its three stars – Andre Braugher – was just nominated for an Emmy award this past week. The other stars were Romano and Scott Bakula.

But despite those accolades, the series’ audience was apparently too miniscule to justify a third season. “[The series] was a bold attempt on the part of TNT to deviate from the norm and air a relationship-driven drama about three men in their early 50s,” wrote media analyst Marc Berman here. “[But] despite winning the George Foster Peabody award earlier this year, under 3 million viewers, on average, were tuning in this past season for ‘Men of a Certain Age’,” he noted. The second-season finale – now serving as the series finale – just aired on July 6.

In an interview with’s Alan Sepinwall, co-creator Mike Royce accepted his show’s fate. “[TNT] really really tried, I think, in their heart of hearts, to make a case for keeping the show,” Royce said in the interview. “I bear them no ill will whatsoever.”

Watch a clip of Emmy nominee Andre Braugher in “Men of a Certain Age” here:

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By midday Saturday, Romano, the show’s co-creator and star, hadn’t commented publicly. Royce told Hitfix Romano is “very, very disapointed.”

So were some other people, among them two TV actors – “7th Heaven” star Stephen Collins, 63, and “Treme” trombonist Wendell Pierce, 48. Both actors tweeted their own disappointment in the cancellation. Wrote Collins, “AMC, F/X, somebody . . . pick up Men of a Certain Age…not simply good, the writing, acting, & directing r as good as it gets. Just sayin’.” Earlier, he tweeted, “Canceling Men of a Certain Age is classic short-sighted programming; this was a show that needed time & would’ve reaped rewards for TNT.”

And Pierce wrote, “Im starting a campaign for MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE. It was just cancelled. Best portrayals characters of color. Why? Creators wrote real folk”. In a previous tweet, Pierce expressed his disbelief that a show as honored as “Men of a Certain Age” could nevertheless be cancelled. “Men of a Certain Age is cancelled?” he asked. “After winning the Peabody Award/Emmy nominations (Andre Braugher) Great portrayals of African Americans”.

Our take: Well, certainly we recognize the “courage” it took to mount a show of this type – one that really did try, with the utmost sincerity and integrity, to portray the “real” lives of three ordinary guys facing what remains of their projected lifespans on the north side of 50. However, when we used to watch this show, we used to wonder: How on earth can a show build an audience when it’s little more than three regular Joes sitting in a diner talking about their failing eyesight and upcoming colonoscopies?

Evidently, TNT wondered the same thing.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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