I think the point is that there was never any intention NOT to go more than two seasons. The decision was made to stop after two seasons, not because they couldn't figure out a way to set up a third season of the story. It wasn't because any of the actors refused to return. If I remember correctly, there was mention that at least part of the rationale for not renewing Rome for a third season was financial.
See, I thought Rome was first considered a two year show. then after the lukewarm ratings they considered not finishing. But they went ahead and finished it as originally planned. People, myself included, might have wanted more, but there was never a plan to go past that third year. Or maybe that was as long as the joint companies (HBO,BBC) decided to go with it. and if they wanted to continue it they would have had to go it alone?
I think here's where things get sticky: I think quality is available; quality, though, sometimes costs money -- money that has to be the best possible investment. And my guess is that that's not the case because television viewers don't reward programmers for providing expensive quality in anything close to direct proportion to cost.
I don't disagree with this at all.
Except for the implied "quality" that is available.
As archiguy stated, if HBO isn't going to do this stuff anymore who is?
SCIFI, SHO, SPIKE, USA? I would assume that these networks are not shelling out the big bucks for their "quality" shows. Atleast not big bucks that HBO would gladly have matched to air the programming instead.
I am leaning more towards HBO not having the proper people in place to know quality from crap.