Irish actor Jason O'Mara's third big American break has fallen flat as ABC has axed his show "Life on Mars."
The show - which starred heavyweights such as Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli and Gretchen Mol - just didn't attract the viewers.
ABC entertainment chief Steve McPherson said "it was the right thing to do for the producers and the fans and creatively."
O’Mara's earlier breaks included roles in the Steven Spielberg mini-series “Band of Brothers,” and the Touchstone drama “In Justice” – which Fox network cancelled.
"Life on Mars," was named after the famous David Bowie song.
O’Mara starred as NYPD cop Sam Tyler, who is spirited back in time to 1970s New York after being hit by a car and is forced to do his work without modern conveniences like computers. O’Mara was forced to ditch his pronounced Irish accent for the role.
“Life on Mars” was originally a British show, set in Manchester, a gritty city in the north of England and it told the story of a tough and not always likable detective, Chief Inspector Hunt, who is mysteriously transported to the 1970s, a grim decade in UK history. The series was a big hit, and won awards at the Emmys and Baftas.
There were constant whispers behind the scenes about the US drama’s progress. In November 2008, O’Mara said: "I have to substitute the anxiety of doing this role for anticipation and enjoyment." Irish actor Colm Meaney was originally slated to play O’Mara’s partner, Gene Hunt, and he was in the pilot, but ABC later gave the part to Harvey Keitel. "I had to roll with the punches," O’Mara said in the same interview. "Whatever challenges we had, everybody seems to be on the same page now." Not for long, it seems.
O’Mara now lives in New York with his American wife, actress Paige Turcoin, but he’s an Irish boy through and through. Born in 1974, he grew up in Dublin and studied drama at Trinity College Dublin. He turned to acting only after a rugby injury meant he could not play sports for a while, and he auditioned instead for a part in his school play. He hasn’t looked back since. In addition to his US roles, he has acted in BBC dramas, and in classic stage productions like Harold Pinter’s “The Homecoming.”
Now it looks like quieter times are in store for O’Mara, who says he’s going to use the break to spend time with his wife and son. He can perhaps afford to relax -- it’s thought that he earned about $2 million for his Life on Mars role. O’Mara’s in no rush to return to the job market. “I was paid very handsomely for what I did so I have what I like to call 'f**k off money'," he said recently. "I can hopefully wait until the next great project comes along."