by Amy Price
CHANNEL 9 has axed long-running drama Love Child.
Confidential can reveal actors were notified last month that the drama had not been renewed for a fifth season and Nine confirmed late Monday afternoon they had pulled the pin.
Love Child has been one of the network's top-billed dramas for the past four years, starring Jessica Marais,Miranda Tapsell, Ryan Johnson, Andy Ryan and Mandy McElhinney.
Marais has won two consecutive Most Popular Actress gongs at the annual Logies for her portrayal of midwife Joan Miller.
The fourth season returned to its lowest season premiere, pulling 624,000 metro viewers.
Marais's other starring role in Channel Ten's The Wrong Girl is also uncertain.
A Ten spokesman confirmed a decision had not been made on whether a third season would go ahead.
The show's finale attracted just 360,000 metro viewers, down from 549,000 the previous year.
The news puts a cloud over the future of Australian dramas with Channel Ten putting fan favourite Offspring on hold.
Queensland actor Deborah Mailman told Confidential the show had "come to its natural end" as she swapped to film Nine's new drama Bite Club.
"You don't want to keep pushing out a show that's sort of lost its appeal," she said.
"It's very difficult to know what sort of life Australian drama has on our screens anymore."
Earlier this year actor Rhys Muldoon told Confidential he was certain that Nine's House Husbands would also not return next year.
"We've done five seasons. We're not coming back; let's just say it," he said.