"Knots Landing," the longest-running prime-time entertainment series currently on the air, will end its 14-year run on CBS this May, the network announced Friday.
David Jacobs, the creator and executive producer of the show, said that economics killed the series. But its ratings also have been falling.
This season, CBS reduced the fee it pays per episode to Lorimar, the studio that produces the show, and Jacobs was forced to cut his costs. Many of the actors agreed to appear in only a few episodes.
"This year has been extremely difficult because some of the stars have only been in five or six of the episodes," Jacobs said. "And that's incredibly restricting with a serial like this, because just when you start to get some momentum in your story-telling, you realize that you have to leave Kevin Dobson or Bill Devane out of two or three episodes. And if we were to continue, the only way to do it would be with more amputations."
"Knots Landing" stands a respectable 35th among all prime-time shows in the ratings this season, trailing ABC's "PrimeTime Live" but just ahead of NBC's "L.A. Law," but in recent weeks the show has been finishing last in the Thursday 10 p.m. time period.
Over the course of its history, "Knots Landing" has averaged a 17.2 rating and 29% share of the audience; this season it has managed just an 11.5 rating and 19% share of the audience.
Jacobs said that a two-hour finale airing in May will bring the twisting saga about a group of families living in a suburban cul-de-sac to a conclusion without resorting to any dreams or gimmicks, although he admitted he did consider having bulldozers demolish the entire neighborhood to make room for a new freeway.
The spin-off of "Dallas," which Jacobs also created, premiered in December, 1979.