In 2005, crime procedural show, Bones, hit television screens. The series – about an FBI agent called Seeley Booth, who solve crimes with the assistance of forensic anthropologist, Dr. Temperance Brennan – starred David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel and was a hit with audiences.
Each week, Booth and Brennan would cast their eye over bizarre and seemingly inexplicable cases, and each week they would find solutions to their problems. Along the way, the pair would engage in a little ‘will-they, won’t-they’ romance, much to the delight of fans, and plenty of entertainment followed.
In total, Bones ran for 12 seasons and a total of 246 episodes, all of which aired on the Fox network. The show’s first episode was ‘Pilot’, which aired on September 13th 2005, while the final episode was ‘The End in the End’, which hit screens on March 28th 2017.
For the majority of its run, Bones was a ratings winner, peaking at over 11 million viewers during its height. But if the show was such a hit, why was Bones cancelled?
Bones was cancelled due to a drop in ratings, as well as the general feeling by the Fox network the show had run its course. The series had experienced a very successful run across its 12 seasons, but after being moved around the TV schedule multiple times over the years, the ratings began to decline.
During its first three seasons, the show averaged between 8.9 million and 9.4 million viewers. This increased over the next couple of seasons and by Season Six, Bones was averaging 11.57 million viewers.
However, from Season Seven onward, the ratings started to drop a little here and there, and by Seasons Ten and Eleven the show was averaging 7.27 million viewers. By the time the Twelfth season came along, the ratings were down to 5.54 million – around half of what they were during the show’s peak.
With the ratings only likely to decline even further, Fox made the decision to rest the show rather than continue indefinitely. The series was therefore cancelled, and the adventures of Booth and Brennan were concluded.
At the time of the show’s cancellation, Executive Producer Hart Hanson made it clear it was not his decision to pull the plug on Bones, but he also wasn’t surprised that it was coming to an end. With low ratings hitting the series, the writing was on the wall.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association back in 2017 (via EW), Hanson said: “We were told it was our last year. It wasn’t that we called the network and said, ‘We’d like to finish now.’” He added: “I’m not sure anybody is terribly upset or terribly shocked that it would be the last year.”
His comments were echoed by series star, Emily Deschanel, who said: “It would be ungracious of us to be fighting against them cancelling us, but yeah, it wasn’t our decision.”
Although the show’s cancellation came as somewhat of a blow to long-time fans, the consolation was that by the time it reached its end point, Bones had built up quite a legacy. The series had become 20th Century Fox Television’s longest-running one-hour drama, and it was a hit around the world.
And all these years on, the show continues to attract new audiences through re-runs and home video releases, while also entertaining loyal fans. With a collection of 246 episodes to return to, there’s no shortage of material to enjoy time and time again.
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