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Saunders: Last big bang for 'Boomtown'
December 22, 2003

NBC will provide an after-Christmas gift for fans of Boomtown.

The final four episodes of the critically acclaimed but ratings-poor drama series will be broadcast during a mini-marathon on Saturday and Sunday.
The network has scheduled three consecutive episodes from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday and will air the fourth at 9 p.m. Sunday - the time slot the Los Angeles-based police series occupied during the 2002-2003 season.

That Sunday night show features guest appearances by Howard Hesseman and Virginia Madsen.

Winner of the prestigious Peabody award, Boomtown was a late renewal by the network last spring - even after critical praise and several major awards.

NBC moved the series in September from Sunday to Friday with disastrous ratings results.

Never a major player in the ratings game during its freshman season (an average of 10 million viewers), Boomtown was yanked from the NBC lineup in its sophomore season after each of the first two episodes averaged about 7 million.

While such audience figures were discouraging, NBC, which has had a woefully-weak fall season with its new series, should have given Boomtown more time to find an audience.

Boomtown deserved at least a six-episode run.

After pulling the show, NBC indicated the remaining four episodes, which already had been filmed, would not be aired.

So consider this video gift something from the Grinch, not Santa.

The network is more interested in recouping some of its financial losses than being in a holiday mood and pleasing fans.

In network parlance, this is called "burning off" episodes.

But at least Boomtown fans are getting an unexpected, appreciated holiday gift.
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