Axed: Spirited

By David Knox on October 15, 2011 / Filed Under Pay TV 29

Foxtel drama Spirited, starring Claudia Karvan, will not be renewed for a third season.

In a statement on its official Facebook page,  Foxtel Executive Director of Television Brian Walsh said, “Spirited was a brave and bold piece of contemporary television drama, as only Foxtel can deliver. We are enormously proud of the show and its performance over two seasons. It was an intriguing storyline, beautifully directed and performed by a stellar cast.

“Producers Claudia Karvan and Jacquelin Perske delivered a remarkable Australian series which has resonated strongly with audiences. I feel it’s right for Spirited to go out on a high with the impossible love story of Suzy and Henry resolved in a way that’s as close to a happily ever after as was ever really possible.

“We appreciate and thank you for your passionate support of Spirited and we promise to continue bringing you the best in Australian and international drama.”

The drama produced by John Edwards, Claudia Karvan and Jacqueline Perske starred Karvan as dentist Suzy Darling, who walks away from a marriage with husband Steve (Rodger Corser) and into an old apartment block inhabited by the ghost of 1980s rock star Henry Mallet (Matt King).

It had been praised by critics for its adventurous storytelling, fusing drama with fantasy and was nominated for AFI Awards, AWGIE Awards. It recently won an ASTRA Award as Pay TV’s Most Outstanding Drama.

Last month Walsh told TV Tonight, viewing numbers for the second season were down by about 8%.

“I love the show. I think it’s spot on for the channel that it plays for which is W,” he said. “It plays to that female audience. Its performance is good but not spectacular. Do we go again? When we make the decision about a further series it will be looking at the overall performance of the show combined with research that we do with our subscribers.”

But an online campaign to save the show is already underway at spirited-tv.net and on Twitter via #savespirited.

Foxtel will announce its 2012 programming highlights to advertisers and media later this month.

29 Comments »

  1. Naomi Maric November 4, 2011 at 12:45 pm -

    What a massive shame! Spirited has been a joy to watch and I’ve enjoyed every episode.

  2. lara October 27, 2011 at 5:53 am -

    Still just appalled that a network can cancel an AFI Award-nominated drama so beloved by fans with the ridiculous excuse that it’s “ended on a high note.” It has not, it has ended with Henry & Suzy hanging mid-air, with fans in an uproar, entirely dissatisfied. Your 1500 subscriber survey clearly did not elicit true response from those who truly adore this show — and love it enough to fight tooth and nail for its return for a 3rd season. Think again, Foxtel.

  3. Pam S. October 26, 2011 at 1:08 pm -

    Ross Crowley & Brian Walsh need to stop pretending with the “we have commitment to our popular shows and their viewers because it’s subscription TV and is on a different platform to other networks” line. Spirited was clever, appealing to a broad viewer range far more reaching than the anticipated “women in their forties”, & was nominated for, and won, several awards as well as being Foxtel’s most successful drama to date. It illustrates to subscribers more about these two men as individuals with personal opinions rather than a team making a good decision. Shame on them. Our “Open Letter” now has in excess of 1200 signatures in under two weeks. Start listening, gentlemen.
    spirited-tv.net/2011/10/sos-save-our-spirited/

  4. Save Spirited October 24, 2011 at 12:46 pm -

    join us on save spirited on facebook if u want to help the cause!

  5. Stacy October 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm -

    I looked forward all week to the next episode of Spirited. I loved all the characters. I certainly agree shows shouldn’t go on and on, but surely 1 more series where the loose ends are tied up isn’t too much to ask. I can’t understand why a show that is popular & winning awards is being axed.

  6. ompman October 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm -

    any higher and it would be called snakeshit

  7. Jen13 October 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm -

    Spirited was a terrific show!
    I don’t usually enjoy Australian shows as they are often not good quality, but this was an exception. Excellent acting, excellent writing, and a new idea for a story.
    However more shows should go out like this – story arc completed, and not just go on and on for the sake of it.
    I hope to see a lot more of Claudia Karvan and Matt King.

  8. SpiritedTV October 17, 2011 at 1:38 pm -

    Thank you to everyone who has signed our letter of protest so far. If you support quality homegrown productions, please add your name to our campaign!

  9. Rob Klein October 17, 2011 at 1:26 pm -

    I wonder if the axing has anything to do with the fact that the hotel in Double Bay where much of the show was filmed will soon be demolished (as anticipated in the S2 Finale)?

  10. Sue October 17, 2011 at 10:44 am -

    Strange Foxtel felt the need to announce the cancellation publicly.

  11. Wade October 16, 2011 at 11:14 am -

    David, I’d be interested to hear the FTA networks’ thoughts on Spirited. Would they consider picking it up for a new season, considering they’ll get 2 full series with no production costs as part of the deal?

  12. Isiebeau October 15, 2011 at 9:29 pm -

    Please everyone, help with the online campaign mentioned in the article. It’s our best chance at saving the show. Spare a minute and lend your names to the petition link above. Spirited is too unique and inspiring to lose.

  13. LCD TV October 15, 2011 at 8:49 pm -

    Foxtel has spent up too big on RoveLA which has tiny numbers. (what else did they expect?) So I guess they had to drop something to continue to pay for Rove.

  14. Ginny October 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm -

    Nooooooooooooo!! I love this show and all its characters – one of my must see shows of the week. What a shame and a short sighted decision.

  15. Lulu October 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm -

    I thought foxtel didn’t care about viewer numbers because people paid for it? This is a rediculous place to stop the series, the final was full of cliffhangers and unanswered questions! I for one was addicted to this show, with its original concept and fantastic cast. I just wish there was a way to tie up the loose ends.

  16. Craig October 15, 2011 at 6:10 pm -

    Sad to see it go but the show was given 2 season to prove it’s self, which is much better than many other shows.

  17. David Knox October 15, 2011 at 5:57 pm -

    Rush has not been axed or renewed.

  18. Jake October 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm -

    Spirited was showing on W Foxtel….that was the cause of its demise. I would have loved to have watched both seasons of Spirited but I don’t have Foxtel. Not many people have foxtel. I will buy both seasons on dvd when they are released…..

  19. KFed October 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm -

    This was always an odd combination of talented people and deeply awful premise that never quite worked for me. It looked good, some of the writing and acting was brilliant, but at it’s heart it was cringe-worthy.

  20. Sheba Percy October 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm -

    That’s shame…
    Has Rush been officially axed?

  21. Andrew_J81 October 15, 2011 at 3:39 pm -

    It’s probably got more to do with contract negotiations and royalties than the audience drop.

  22. steve sydney October 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm -

    What’s Roger Corser going to do now with this as well as Rush being canned?

  23. matineeidyll October 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm -

    Actually, Joni, Spirited has quite a large and vocal viewership which has translated to a big online fan community.

  24. Spirited_Fan October 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm -

    Such a great, warm, witty, unique, clever show… what a shame to lose it. Great writing, great acting – so much better than the US reality TV saturation.

    Why, why, why don’t we give Australian drama a chance?

    Extremely short-sighted decision by Foxtel which I hope is reversed.

    This viewer not happy!

  25. DavidO October 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm -

    This doesn’t shock me at all. While Spirited was certainly an original concept, it never overcame it’s inherent flaws. Poor characterisation and lack of character development is a death sentence to a show that is character-driven. I wish the cast and crew luck on their future projects.

  26. Danness October 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm -

    Loved this show. It’s a shame we won’t get any more episodes. Hopefully Claudia is back on our screens sooner rather than later.

  27. Joni October 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm -

    Didn’t even know it was on but guess with that massive 8% drop it had to go :)

    Mind you, was on cable, so that prob meant a drop from 7 viewers to 3.

  28. SpiritedTV October 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm -

    Thanks for your support.

    It would be such a shame for this show to disappear from the face of Australian tv!

    Please sign if you’d rather innovative Australian drama on our team and not foreign content replays and reality tv!

  29. Adam Oriti Art October 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm -

    Not good. but I know Claudia will be working on something just as amazing.

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