After four worthy seasons, Fox’s Raising Hope will air its last episodes on April 4, fittingly ending its tenure by churning out back-to-back half-hours. The show was moved all over Fox’s schedule in its final seasons, after spending its first two years on Tuesday, and will wrap up in the Friday night death slot that pretty much signaled its doom when it was shifted there months ago. The loss of creator Greg Garcia, who moved on to CBS’s The Millers, was another sign Raising Hope was not long for this world.
The show debuted under the radar alongside the much more prominent Fox comedy Running Wilde, which it quickly outlasted. Featuring the same blue-collar angle as Garcia’s earlier comedies My Name Is Earl and Yes Dear, the show was initially dismissed by critics for being too crass and insane, given its admirably bonkers premise (sweet-but-dumb Jimmy Chance and his well-meaning family have to raise a baby conceived in a one night stand with a serial killer who is executed in the pilot). But it quickly built up a cult following because it was just so darn earnest, anchored by the winning performances of Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt as Jimmy’s mom and dad. Plimpton collected a well-deserved Emmy nod in the show’s first season.
Raising Hope was never any great shakes in the ratings game, but its viewer average slowly declined with every season, starting at 6.45 million for the first and dipping to 4.56 million for the third. It produced enough episodes to make it to syndication though, and could find a second life there.
“Getting to know and love the Chance family on Raising Hope has been a sweet, hilarious ride,” said Fox chairman Kevin Reilly and COO Joe Earley in a statement. “Thanks to the incredibly talented cast – along with Greg, Mike and the entire crew – for making us laugh for four fantastic seasons.”
Apparently, the finale was designed to wrap up the show in case it got canceled. Hopefully the show’s excellent ensemble—also including Lucas Neff, Cloris Leachman and Shannon Woodward—will find good work elsewhere in the TV landscape. Plimpton and Dillahunt in particular are incredibly versatile actors who can knock any genre out of the park.