Channel Nine’s next season of Sea Patrol will be its final series.
Currently filming in Queensland, the series will bring to a close five seasons aboard the HMAS Hammersley.
The drama, starring Lisa McCune and Ian Stenlake, averaged 1.2m viewers last season.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a production tax rebate expires after 65 episodes. Next season’s 13 episodes takes the total number of episodes to 68. This year it had 16 episodes.
Sea Patrol has been a shiny success story for Nine, produced by McElroy All Media. With its Armidale-class patrol boat from the Royal Australian Navy, and mix of action and romance, it has sold to over 100 territories principally via the Hallmark Channel.
McCune and Stenlake both return for the final series along with Conrad Coleby, John Batchelor, Matt Holmes, Kristian Schmid, Nikolai Nikolaeff, Danielle Horvat, Tammy McIntosh plus Ditch Davey and Renai Caruso.
But some fans are already looking to save the series from ending.
Clint Rolfe who runs website SeaPatrol.com told TV Tonight, the show had been written off by some observers in its first season but has built a loyal legion of fans. A Petition to save the show is already gathering signatories.
“The fans all feel for the cast and crew, who still have to deliver Sea Patrol 5. That said, fans aren’t taking the news lying down,” he said.
“Athough it’s almost impossible to change a network’s mind, the Hey Hey fans did it, so maybe the fans of Sea Patrol will have some success. Even if Nine won’t fund another series, how about an explosive movie length episode to take the series out on a high? In any case, we’ve started a petition and would love more support.
“Although it isn’t the highest rating Australian drama on TV, and costs a mint to make, the quality gets better and better each series.
“The only bright light is we still have 13 solid episodes to look forward to.”
Reports of a final series follows news last week that Seven is yet to decide on the future of City Homicide for 2011. A 6 episode-arc will screen next year while the network promises a decision early next year.
Nine is yet to confirm the future for COPS L.A.C. while TEN has not announced any renewal yet for Rush.