FOX cancels ‘Raising Hope,’ sets series finale for April

Given its consistently low ratings, it's somewhat astounding that “Raising Hope” managed to get four often terrific seasons on FOX. 

It's still sad to report that “Raising Hope” will have its series finale on Friday, April 4 with an hour-long send-off.

“On behalf of myself, Greg Garcia and 'Raising Hope's' amazing cast and crew, I would like to thank our audience for tuning in and supporting us over the last four seasons,” blurbs executive producer Mike Mariano, who took over as showrunner for Garcia this season. “We planned our Season Four finale with this possibility in mind, and hope our loyal fans enjoy the way we”ve chosen to say goodbye to the Chances and to Natesville. Thanks again, and we”ll see you in syndication.”

Often aired in erratic patterns with lengthy hiatuses, doubled-up episodes and early finales, “Raising Hope” will still hit 88 episodes by its finale. During its run, stars Martha Plimpton and Cloris Leachman have been nominated for Emmys and I will continue to be minorly outraged at the snubbing of the musical classic “Rock the Torah” in last season's Emmy race.

The comedy also starred Garret Dillahunt, Lucas Neff, Shannon Woodward and Gregg Binkley and, like Garcia's “My Name Is Earl,” “Raising Hope” excelled at the development and expansion of the fictional Natesville community, including its myriad eccentric denizens and its local celebrations and rituals. Unlike “My Name Is Earl,” though, “Raising Hope” never found even a brief window of ratings success.

Airing on Fridays this year, with doubled episodes in the late fall and paired with “Enlisted” this winter, “Raising Hope” has been regularly hitting series lows. This past week, “Raising Hope” drew under 1.6 million viewers and did a 0.5 rating among adults 18-49. Coupled with Friday's renewals for “New Girl,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “The Mindy Project,” plus the network's multiple early new series pick-ups, the writing was on the wall. [Yes, I know. The writing has been on the wall for months. But it was REALLY on the wall after Friday.]

“Getting to know and love the Chance family on RAISING HOPE has been a sweet, hilarious ride,” state Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment and Joe Earley, Chief Operating Officer, Fox Broadcasting Company. “Thanks to the incredibly talented cast – along with Greg, Mike and the entire crew – for making us laugh for four fantastic seasons.”

The April 4 series finale episodes will feature “Downton Abbey” star Lesley Nicol playing Jimmy and Sabrina's new maid, the return of Jeffrey Tambor as Virginia's father and a music performance by Kenny Loggins. This Friday's episode features Judith Light guesting as Virginia's boss. Get it? 

Yeah, someday people will look back at the show's many high-concept parody/homage episodes and feel a certain amount of regret for missing out on what was often a true gem.

Til then, I leave you with “Rock the Torah” [Audio-only, because FOX has killed all sharable versions of the video online. SIGH.]: