We might never find out how well the rookie adapts.

We might never find out how well the rookie adapts.

In the latest attempt by NBC executives to kill their own network, the critically acclaimed cop drama “Southland” has been canceled just two weeks before its second-season debut.

The L.A. Times  reported the story Thursday night, and said its Friday night timeslot will instead be filled by yet another edition of “Dateline NBC.”

“Southland” was a bubble series in the spring, and its renewal was seen as a pleasant surprise by many, perhaps a sign that NBC wouldn’t drop quality dramas now that Jay Leno has taken over the 10 p.m. timeslot traditionally reserved for grown-up shows. Alas.

The Times reported that NBC thought the series was “too dark” for network TV. It might not be too dark for another network to pick up though. And now that Leno’s ratings are sinking against first-run dramas on rival networks, it’s be a nice bit of poetic justice if, say, ABC could make “Southland” into a hit.

The sad underlying message here: If you’re looking for quality dramas, don’t look to NBC.

UPDATE: “Southland” may be getting shopped to TNT, and what its cancellation might mean for “Chuck.”