HBO Renews, Cancels Low-Rated ‘The Wire’

Sep 12, 2006  •  Post A Comment

With critical acclaim for “The Wire” at a fever pitch, HBO has renewed—and canceled—the gritty Baltimore drama, a network spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

The network has ordered a fifth and final season of the show, the spokeswoman said.

The renewal comes despite an extremely weak debut for the show’s fourth season. Sunday’s premiere was seen by about 1.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. That figure is down from last year’s premiere, which was seen by 1.8 million viewers.

Such figures are very low for an HBO drama. This summer’s third season premiere of the recently canceled series “Deadwood” was seen by 2.4 million viewers.

But critical response to “The Wire” preview DVDs has been extraordinary, even by HBO standards. Unconventional critics ranging from author Stephen King to comic Patton Oswalt have declared the show the best series on television.