Doubts about the show's viability deepened in April, after Washington Post TV critic Tom Ricks questioned whether the supposedly spontaneous reality show was actually being scripted by its producers.
Over the next few weeks, insiders say, Pentagon Channel executives determined that while the Zarqawi show still had a dedicated following of hardcore fans who would swallow any plot device, no matter how ludicrous, the series no longer made commercial or artistic sense. It was also believed that a spectacular and upbeat finale might lure viewers away from Haditha, the controversial docudrama now airing on the rival Reality Network.
Network sources say the Pentagon Channel is weighing a possible sequel to the Abu Zarqawi Hour, featuring an identical plot but a completely different cast. The network and Zarqawi have permanently severed their relationship, these sources added, due to "irreconcilable creative differences."