Monarch ended season one on a happy, mostly cliffhanger-free note. But it wasn’t enough to give the country music drama another year.
Fox canceled the series, which starred Trace Adkins, Wednesday, hours after the season one finale. It probably wasn’t unexpected. The network didn’t include the show among its spring season offerings.
Fox certainly gave Monarch plenty of publicity to succeed. The network initially planned to include the show about the first family of country music in its spring schedule. However, Fox pulled it from the schedule, fearing the COVID-19 pandemic would disrupt the filming schedule and stall the show’s momentum.
So Monarch premiered Sept. 11, with an NFL double header as its lead in. And the ratings definitely showed promise. The premiere reeled in 4 million viewers making it the most watched Fox series debut in three years. But Fox did pull a bit of a bait-and-switch with the audience. Academy-award winner Susan Sarandon portrayed Dottie Roman. The network made her the focus of its pre-premiere publicity campaign. However, Sarandon’s character committed suicide at the end of episode one. Sarandon made appearances in flashbacks, but she wasn’t a major player.
The ratings plummeted after episode one. In its Tuesday time slot, minus the NFL, Monarch never broke 1.8 million same-day viewers in the next 10 episodes. The Tuesday finale pulled in 1.589 million. That was the third lowest of the season and definitely not the high note the show needed for another run.
Monarch was set in Austin. And it told the story of the Romans, the self-proclaimed first family of country music. Adkins was Albie Roman, who still was deeply in love with Dottie. The couple had three children — Nicky, Luke and Gigi. In the premiere, fans learned that Dottie had terminal cancer. The manipulative superstar forced her oldest daughter to help her commit suicide.
Each episode featured lots of country music. And real-life country stars stopped by. Shania Twain, Tanya Tucker and Martina McBride were among the country stars who made cameos. Every main member of the cast, save for Joshua Sasse (Luke Roman) sang for each Monarch episode.
In the series finale, the show definitely added some over-the-top soapy drama. The Travis County District Attorney, who wanted to be governor, personally came to arrest Albie, his one-time best friend, for the murder of Albie’s son-in-law. He ordered Albie handcuffed as Albie was on stage. But in a twist, the cops received a tip that the dead guy’s body was found buried near the DA’s lake house.
Feuding sisters Nicky and Gigi decided to go on tour as co-headliners. They even invited their niece to open for them. The Romans only learned of her existence when Albie figured out that his one-time mistress had his baby decades ago. Dottie then killed the mistress by setting the barn on fire. We told you this was soapy.