"Rome" wasn't built in a day; it got two whole seasons. This HBO series, which premiered in 2005, explored the lives of aristocracy, military, commoners and slaves in the ancient civilization. HBO had never filmed a historical drama outside the U.S. before. The show, based in Italy, had a big cast and crew, and the network found it awfully expensive to maintain.
Because of the cost, HBO wanted to determine the fate of seasons two and three simultaneously. The network decided to gamble on only one more season, but they may have regretted that choice. Season two's ratings were a pleasant surprise, and Rome even got some Emmy nominations. Unfortunately, by then it was too late to get the band back together.