But eventually, the network gods finally intervene. This year, it was "'Til Death" that was finally slain. Fox confirmed the news Tuesday afternoon.
The ratings were never in "'Til Death's" favor, but the economics were. Fox gave the show a 22-episode order last January after Sony Pictures TV gave the network a break on the license fee -- and it wound up being a deal that Fox couldn't refuse.
For Sony, the pickup brought the "'Til Death" episode total up to more than 80 -- close enough for an off-network syndication sale.
The problem there: "Til Death" has gone through several revamps and cast changes over the years. Stars Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher have remained constant; but "Til Death" originally was about two couples at different stages of life -- with Eddie Kaye Thomas and Kat Foster playing younger next door neighbors.
In season three, "'Til Death" moved its focus to the friendship between Garrett and new cast member J.B. Smoove. But in season four, the story shifted again -- as the couple's daughter (Lindsey Broad) moved back home, along with her slacker boyfriend (Timm Sharp).
Fox actually informed Sony and the show's cast and crew a few weeks ago that it wouldn't pick up any more episodes. Brad Garrett confirmed the news to Zap2It:
"The other night, we got an 0.8 [rating]," Garrett reports in his famously deep voice. "Once your mom stops watching, you're an 0.4. The network said, 'What do you suggest?' I said, 'If you give me one more month, I can take you to a zero.' And there was dead silence."
Garrett adds that others who were involved in "'Til Death" have moved on to other projects: "After year two, when you're getting beat by Telemundo, it's time to go home. I mean, even the show my housekeeper watches was beating the show that was paying her salary. I'd come in the room, and she'd quickly turn off Telemundo."
The show also underwent a producer change in its final season. Don Reo, Dean Lorey, Glenn Robbins, Doug Wald and Garrett exec produce for Sony Pictures TV. "'Til Death" was originally created by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa.