2018 In Review: 5 Most Controversial Cancelations

2018 brought many renewals, revivals, and reboots, but it also brought plenty of cancelations. Here are the five most controversial cancelations, in alphabetical order. 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Network: FOX
Ratings: 0.74 A18-49
Network Rank: #19/24

Brooklyn Nine-Nine was by no means a ratings hit in fall 2017, airing Tuesdays at 9:30 against competition from This Is Us and having a low-rated lead-in. However, it was moved to Sundays in the spring, where it got higher ratings and often matched the ratings of its Simpsons lead-in. The fact FOX aired it there instead of, say, LA to Vegas or Bob’s Burgers, certainly looked like a sign of confidence that they would invest in another season. With that, its cancelation in May came as a bit of a surprise to some. Fans were not having it, with celebrities such as Lin-Manuel Miranda speaking out. Reportedly, a group of celebrities who petitioned against the cancelation united by creating their own group chat.

Soon after the cancelation, Hulu was rumored to be interested in picking up the show. NBCUniversal, which owns and distributes the show, also holds a stake in Hulu, and the show is supposedly a strong performer for the streaming service. In the end, it was broadcast network NBC that saved it, and its NBC premiere has been promoted a lot and has been given what is seen to be a prime time slot. 

Marvel’s Daredevil
Network: Netflix
Ratings: —
Network Rank: —

Marvel does not release its ratings to the public, and only offers occasional tidbits. However, Entertainment Weekly reports that, per an analysis done by Parrot Analytics, Daredevil was the streaming giant’s 4th-highest rated show. While Netflix denied the accuracy of this, they had no reason to affirm it given saying so would only make its fans more angry.

Rumors have spread that Netflix did not want to have to cancel the show, though it is debatable if they are true or not. What is of interest is that Disney, which ones all Marvel properties, is launching their own streaming service soon meant to compete with Netflix. Could Disney have made the show simply too expensive for Netflix to renew with the intentions of cutting relations with them? We may never know, but we do know that they are content with Marvel properties airing on platforms they own; see, Agents of SHIELD’s 6th-season renewal on ABC. 

Network: ABC
Ratings: 3.50 A18-49
Network Rank: #1/37

Roseanne wasn’t just the #1 show on ABC, it was the #1 scripted show on all of broadcast television in the 2017-18 TV season, and would have been so if it had those ratings in the 2016-17 TV season as well. It was renewed the same week of its premiere episode, and its premiere had more viewers than some of its final batch of episodes of the original run, despite that being in 1997 when ratings overall were much higher. ABC had found their hit show to lead off Tuesdays in the fall, at the perfect time too given then-current anchor The Middle was ending.

Then came the infamous tweet very late at night from star Roseanne Barr, which led to a swift cancelation of the show. This got a very mixed reaction, with many praising then-current ABC Head of Programming Channing Dungey, and others saying it was an overreaction. With Roseanne Barr being one of very few outspoken President Trump supporters in Hollywood, politics was brought into the discussion. After weeks of press, the network eventually went forward with The Conners, a version of the show where Roseanne wasn’t in the picture, both on and off the screen. 

While The Conners isn’t living up to the ratings of Roseanne, it is almost certainly doing better than if they picked up a failed comedy pilot instead. Plus, Roseanne was on a downward trajectory in the ratings towards the end of its season, and there is no saying it wouldn’t have continued to drop this season. ABC is reportedly negotiating a second season of The Conners.


Network: Freeform
Ratings: 0.15 A18-49
Network Rank: #5/10

Shadowhunters was not a high-rated show, and the shows that rated lower than it still had ratings in the same range. Plus, we do not know how Shadowhunters performed on streaming compared to Freeform’s other shows. However, when Freeform announced in early June 2018 the show would end after 3 seasons, there was a lot of fan outcry. Things such as #SaveShadowhunters still spread on Twitter as the calendar turns to 2019. The show still has 12 episodes scheduled to air in 2019, and is promised a wrap-up TV movie to give the show a proper conclusion.

Immense fan outcry led to a controversial ploy made by Freeform during a showing of Toy Story. The version of Toy Story shown featured “pop-up knowledge”, or commentary about the movie/scenes. At a point in the movie, a Magic 8 Ball is shook to read “Don’t Count On It”. Freeform put up a graphic, pretending the question was “Will Freeform save Shadowhunters if I keep tweeting about it?”. This was meant to put the fan outcry to rest, but only intensified it. The network later apologized, and it is not clear what level of power the people who included the graphic had. 

Network: NBC
Ratings: 0.62 A18-49
Network Rank: #25t/28

Big fans of NBC’s drama Timeless, who call themselves “Clockblockers”, have been on a mission to save the show since May 2017. NBC initially canceled it after one season, but reversed the decision shortly thereafter in a new agreement with Sony, the show’s owner and distributor. It remains unknown if Sony pitched the loyal fan base as a reason for NBC to keep the show. Regardless, fan outcry was at its greatest after the it got canceled after two seasons. A series finale TV movie was aired in December 2018 to tie up loose ends, but the #SaveTimeless campaign still isn’t done, with the writers of the show open to a third season. 

Which cancelation do you think was least-deserved? Vote in our poll as many times as you want to decide, and if you vote by leaving a comment, we will count it as two votes.

Share this

Related Posts

Next Post »