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No second season for HBO's 'Family Tree'

Television has just lost its best snarky monkey hand puppet. 

"Family Tree," the first try at a scripted television series from filmmaker Christopher Guest, will not return for a second season at HBO, officials with the premium cable network confirmed Thursday.

The decision is hardly a surprise. In a world of niche programming, the quirky show about an affable Englishman played by Chris O'Dowd searching for his family roots could not find a home with a big enough audience. Nina Conti played Dowd's sister, a ventriloquist who communicated much of the time through a hand puppet named Monk. 

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Despite being embraced by many critics, the show struggled for ratings even at HBO, which has a history of airing programs with low viewership. The show, co-created by Guest and Jim Piddock, opened last May to fewer than a million viewers.

When the show premiered, Times TV critic Robert Lloyd wrote it was "sweet and funny and not a little melancholy," adding that "Guest gives the world a quarter-twist toward the ridiculous, without losing sight of the human dreams and strivings, obsessions and acommodations that are his main and constant subject."


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