It looks like the CW is on a cancellation spree, and they’re pulling the plug on some fan favorites.
The CW has been known for giving shows a fair run, unlike some other networks (or Netflix, which probably holds a record for canceling shows after a single season). That’s why it was pretty shocking to see the CW end a record number of series all of a sudden.
Seven series were given the boot in one fell swoop: Dynasty, Charmed, Legacies, In the Dark, 4400, Naomi, and Roswell, New Mexico. In separate announcements, the CW also stated that DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman, and Riverdale would come to an end.
A few of these had a pretty good run. Based on characters from Archie Comics, Riverdale’s seventh season will be the last. With the end in sight, show-runners will be able to give the series an “appropriate send-off.”
“I am a big believer of giving series that have had a long run an appropriate send-off,” said the CW chairman and CEO Mark Pedowitz. “We had a long conversation with Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa] yesterday and he is thrilled with the decision. We are going to treat the show in the manner it deserves. It’s been an iconic pop culture star and we want to make sure that it goes out the right way.”
Legends of Tomorrow was also given the ax after seven seasons, though this one might sting a little more. The season finale ended on a big cliffhanger – and now it will never be resolved. So much for those “appropriate send-offs” in this case.
Showrunner and executive producer Keto Shimizu said she is “heartbroken,” but acknowledged that the show had “an incredible run.”
A few of the CW’s shows lasted four or five seasons, like In the Dark, the Charmed reboot, and Dynasty. Roswell, New Mexico was canceled ahead of the season four premiere. The Vampire Diaries spinoff Legacies also won’t see a season five.
Other CW shows weren’t that lucky. Superhero series Naomi will only see one season, and the science fiction reboot 4400 will suffer the same fate.
Although there are multiple reasons why these shows were put on the chopping block, the CW’s pending sale is likely a driving factor for the network basically cleaning house.
There have been reports about Nexstar Media Group acquiring the CW. Back in January, Nexstar was in negotiations with WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS over acquiring a stake in the TV network. WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS have owned the CW since its formation in 2006. In fact, the name comes from its ownership: the “C” is for CBS, and the “W” is for Warner Bros. Entertainment.
We don’t know for sure whether the acquisition is about to be settled. It’s certain that no one is allowed to talk about it until the deal closes. But when the CW’s CEO Mark Pedowitz calls this a “time of transition for the CW,” we can definitely make a few assumptions. It is likely that the pending sale is just about final. We might even see it happen in the next few weeks.
With all that said, we are losing quite a bit of series all at once. The sale of the CW, paired with the usual factors like weak ratings, marked the end for a whopping ten series on the network.
A spinoff of The Flash and Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow ending means a dwindling Arrowverse. This series featured characters already introduced in Arrow and The Flash, plus new superheroes and villains. This series was not canceled for low ratings. According to The Hollywood Reporter, this show was canceled more for financial reasons. It’s a mix between the ongoing streaming wars and an expired Netflix deal, plus Warner Bros. didn’t want to lease the studio space anymore. Letting Legends of Tomorrow go was definitely a financial decision in the face of the network’s sale.
Dynasty was a reboot of the popular 1980s prime-time soap series of the same name. With updates to make it feel more modern, the CW’s Dynasty follows two rival wealthy families as they feud, get romantically involved, and dig up shady pasts. Although this one was likely ended in part because of the pending sale, it has also been the lowest-rated network drama for a long time. The old-school drama-filled soap premise just couldn’t leap into modern times.
Based on the characters from Archie Comics, Riverdale features the likes of Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead. The series itself, though, is a drama, in which the teens try to uncover evils lurking in a seemingly innocent town. Like I already mentioned, at least Riverdale showrunners were given a heads up about the pending cancellation. This way, Riverdale fans won’t get left hanging like with some of these other canceled shows. The seventh and last season is supposed to premiere in 2023.
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Charmed was another reboot from the CW, based on the 1998 series of the same name from the WB. Although it still followed a trio of sisters who discover they are witches, it was given a few upgrades to make it current and more diverse. Those changes were met with some harsh criticisms. The show was also criticized by original Charmed stars Holly Marie Combs and Alyssa Milano, who pointed out that the CW rebooted Charmed without any involvement from the original cast or crew. The series did see some strong viewership in the beginning, but that audience started to decline with the most recent season. While the original Charmed from WB lasted eight seasons, the CW’s reboot only gets four.
This spinoff from The Vampire Diaries and The Originals won’t continue after season four is done airing. Starting in 2018, the show followed a new generation of protectors at the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted. Teen Hope Mikaelson from the fifth and final season of The Originals is attending the school. Other characters that were introduced in The Originals and The Vampire Diaries reprised their roles in the series. Despite having some of the same characters, this show just never really captured the same level of success as its predecessors.
Although the series started with Kate Kane, season two of Batwoman saw an original character, Ryan Wilder, becoming the superhero. It feels like Batwoman wasn’t really given a fighting chance, but the show won’t see a season four. Ratings were not a factor in this show’s cancellation, though. Apparently, Batwoman suffered the same fate as Legends of Tomorrow. The two shows were both canceled because Warner Bros. no longer wanted to pay the studio lease. That lease expired days after the show’s cancellation was announced. It would be interesting to see if Ryan Wilder is brought back in the future.
The CW’s predecessor, the WB, had a hugely popular series titled Roswell. It was based on the Roswell High book series from Melinda Metz. The CW decided to try its hand at rebooting it with Roswell, New Mexico, which debuted in 2019. While season four has yet to begin airing, it will be the series’ last. The real reasoning is unknown, beyond being tied to the network’s pending sale and the now-expired Netflix deal.
In the Dark is a series about a blind woman who came across a corpse with her guide dog, but the body disappeared before the police arrived. She begins investigating the murder of her friend herself. Just like with Roswell, New Mexico, In the Dark was officially canceled ahead of its season four premiere date. While the network’s sale is a driving factor here, the show also saw its viewership decline and it never recovered. Although season one’s audience wasn’t bad, each subsequent season saw the viewership drop.
Another reboot from an existing series, 2004’s cult drama of the same name, 4400 will only have one season. Though similar in name and overarching premise, the show was changed so much from the original that it had very little in common with it. And although the CW seemingly doesn’t rely on ratings as heavily as some other networks, it’s worth noting that 4400 wasn’t exactly doing well. The season one finale was clearly setting up for a second season that won’t be happening.
Focused on a teen who discovers she is actually an alien with superpowers, Naomi was set to be another successful DC Comics adaptation. Unfortunately, this superhero series barely made it through its first season before the CW put it on the chopping block. Just mere days after the season 1 finale, the CW announced the series was canceled. Like many other shows that get the ax unexpectedly, the season one finale ended on a cliffhanger – and viewers won’t be getting any closure.