VH1 cancels Atlanta's 'Single Ladies' after three seasons

I missed this bit of news recently: VH1 canceled Atlanta-based "Single Ladies" after three seasons. This is a big surprise for me because the show opened strong in January.

The show's series finale will air on Monday night.

ExploreDeadline broke the news I overlooked.
Explore[UPDATE: April 8: Centric has picked up the series and bringing it back to life. No date yet on return.]

Here's the statement VH1 sent the website:

"We've been proud to deliver three seasons of the drama, romance and style that engaged viewers in each episode of Single Ladies," VH1 said in a statement to Deadline. "Although we've decided not to move forward with another season, we hope to work again with the talented cast, creatives and producers as well as our partners at Flavor Unit Entertainment in the near future. We also thank the show's fans for their support since the premiere in 2011."

I probably should have been suspicious because VH1 took the unusual step last year of holding off on the show for more than 16 months. 

Ratings opened at 2.59 million in January, but fell steadily through February to 1.71 million Feb. 24. The Deadline story came out four days later. Since then ratings have fallen even more, to 1.53 million last Monday.

"Single Ladies," a soapy drama set in Atlanta and focused on three single women's ups and downs with men, was VH1's first drama and debuted in 2011 with Stacey Dash as its biggest name. But Dash created her own set of drama off camera, with insiders telling me she clashed with other cast members and crew. She chose to leave after season one. Surprisingly, this didn't impact ratings, which went up season two with her replacement Denise Vasi.

I suspect the show's real troubles began when creator Stacy Littlejohn  jumped ship after season two. She left without explanation,  forcing the show to go on without its visionary.

When I posted my story last week listing all shows in production, I didn't even bother checking with VH1 about this particular show's status because it's unusual for a network to cancel a show like this while it's still airing. My lesson: never assume.

My guess is VH1 needed to kill the show so quickly because its cast and crew needed to know if they were coming back to Atlanta or not for a fourth season. (Production for season three ended last summer.)