‘The Bridge’ Reaches the End of Its Road

The Bridge
The Bridge has reached the end of its road. FX has announced that it would not renew the series for a third season. The Bridge is a gritty drama about two detectives on opposite sides of the U.S.-Mexico border who are forced to work together. The drama series starred Demian Bichir, who was a Best Actor Oscar nominee for 2011’s A Better Life, and actress Diane Kruger, who has an extensive film resume which includes Inglourious Basterds, The Host, as well as the National Treasure franchise.

According to the FX network, the decision to cancel the series was not an easy one, and though it was mostly well-received by critics, it did not have the creative momentum or viewer support to warrant a third season. Moreover, the network also said that as good as the series was, it was unlikely to be nominated for major awards.

When The Bridge premiered in the summer of 2013, the series had a strong start and debuted to more than 3 million viewers in same-day ratings, a number that jumped up to 4.6 million viewers in DVR playback to become the network’s biggest launch to date. The first season revolved around Bichir and Kruger as two detectives from opposite sides of the U.S.-Mexican border who have to work together to catch a serial killer. The show is based on the Swedish series, Bron, and set on the international border of Denmark and Sweden. However, by the end of Season 1, the show had lost half of its audience, with the first season finale drawing only 1.5 million in same day ratings. Nonetheless, that first season still ranked as the number one new scripted cable series of the summer among the key demos.

When Season 2 of The Bridge premiered, the season opener pulled in 1.5 million viewers, which matched the Season 1 finale. However, viewership declined to 1 million by the final two episodes of the second season. With the DVR delayed viewing bump, the Season 2 finale, which aired October 1 and is now the series finale, drew just under 2 million viewers and 767,000 in the key 18-49 demo. However, this ratings bump was not enough to save The Bridge, and the show has subsequently reached the end of its road.

Season 2 of The Bridge also experienced a shift in control as one of the series’ original co-developers and show runners, Elwood Reid, returned to the helm, as fellow series co-creator and show runner Meredith Stiehm departed after Season 1 to return to the troubled Showtime series, Homeland, which she also developed and co-created. Many critics and viewers have blamed the show’s demise on the fact that the second season of the series departed from the serial killer plot that drove Season 1.

The series moved in its own direction in Season 2 as it examined immigration, poverty, and drug cartels along the Texas border with Mexico. Moreover, the second season also removed some of the emphasis placed on the interpersonal relationships among the characters that was explored in Season 1.

Following Season 1 of The Bridge, some were surprised by FX’s decision to move forward with a Season 2, given its sharp ratings decline during Season 1. The cable network is recognized for giving its shows ample opportunities to grow and thrive, so it extended the U.S. remake of the Swedish drama for another season with 13 additional episodes. The series did not see an improvement in the ratings or critical reception, which resulted in its October 21 cancellation.

As announced by FX, The Bridge has reached the end of its road. Due to ratings shortfalls, the cable network decided against moving forward with a third season of the series. The Bridge is a gritty drama about two detectives on opposite sides of the U.S.-Mexico border who are forced to work together. The drama series starred Demian Bichir (A Better Life) and Diane Kruger of National Treasure fame. According to sources, the show will be shopped around to other networks or could find new life with streaming services such as Netflix, who have been very successful in reviving other ratings-challenged series, like the AMC cult hit The Killing.

By Leigh Haugh

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