The biggest TV shows cancelled in 2020 - and why

Abby Robinson
Photo credit: Netflix / Amazon Prime / Showtime /

From Digital Spy

It's not even March yet and the following shows have all had their fates revealed...and it's not good news.

From The Crown to Ray Donovan, here's a rundown of the biggest TV cancellations making headlines in 2020.

The Crown – five seasons

Photo credit: Sophie Mutevelian / Netflix

*Technically* not a cancellation, as the showrunner is the one calling a halt. Back in January, Netflix announced that The Crown will be ending with season five and not six, as many had expected.

"At the outset I had imagined The Crown running for six seasons but now that we have begun work on the stories for season five it has become clear to me that this is the perfect time and place to stop," said showrunner Peter Morgan in a statement.

"I'm grateful to Netflix and Sony for supporting me in this decision."

The streaming giant also took the opportunity to announce that Imelda Staunton would be taking over from Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth for the series' final chapter.

As for why it's wrapping up sooner than initially planned, Morgan had previously spoken about not wanting to cover the royal family's more recent history.

"I feel uncomfortable writing about events within a certain time period," he told Entertainment Weekly at the beginning of January 2020.

"I think there's a certain amount of time within which, if you write about it, what you do instantly becomes journalistic because it's too close to the moment.

"If you wait a certain amount of time, if you allow fifteen or twenty years, basically a generation, between you and [the events] then you can write about it somewhat freely as drama."

But that doesn't mean season six is entirely off the table.

"Let's wait twenty years and see what there is to say about Meghan Markle," he added. "I don't know what there is to say about Meghan Markle at the moment.

"I wouldn't know and I wouldn't presume. She'll only become interesting once we've had twenty years to digest who she is and what her impact has been.

"If I were to write about Meghan Markle, I would automatically be writing journalistically. I've got nothing to say about Meghan Markle."

It's also an expensive show to make (Netflix reportedly invested $130m in its first two seasons), which would be less of an issue if the show had made the platform's top ten most-watched series of 2019.

…But it didn't.

AJ and the Queen – one season

Photo credit: Netflix

AJ and the Queen enjoyed just one season before Netflix pulled the plug.

RuPaul's comedy-drama, in which he also starred as Robert Lee / drag queen Ruby Red, will not be getting a second season, at least not on Netflix.

"End of the road for AJ and the Queen," he wrote on Twitter. "@Netflix has decided to not extend our road trip across America. Thank you for all the love & support. We're so very proud of the work."

Netflix hasn't revealed why the show has been cancelled, but our guess is disappointing viewing figures.

Insatiable – two seasons

Photo credit: Tina Rowden/Netflix

Netflix's Insatiable will not be back for season three.

The announcement didn't come from the streaming platform, but Alyssa Milano (Coralee Armstrong), who was asked by a fan on Twitter about the future of her character.

"We will not be coming back, sadly," she wrote.

It's hardly a surprise given the backlash directed at the controversial series.

The narrative follows Patty (Debby Ryan), a teenager who is bullied at school about her weight. But a freak accident forces her onto a liquid diet and it doesn't take long for her to become half the size she was. That, in turn, makes her significantly more popular with her peers.

Photo credit: Netflix

"For so long, the narrative has told women and young impressionable girls that in order to be popular, have friends, to be desirable for the male gaze, and to some extent be a worthy human...that we must be thin," reads the petition.

"This series will cause eating disorders, and perpetuate the further objectification of women's bodies. The trailer has already triggered people with eating disorders."

Responding to the anger from viewers, Ryan said (via Vanity Fair): "I think the message is you don't have to polish things up all the time and look a certain way. We all have something that we want or try to be.

"As long as we are sincere and transparent, we can fuel our desires to success and lead to redemption and to make things right no matter how we look. That's one thing that I took away."

Milano added: "We are addressing (through comedy) the damage that occurs from fat shaming, I hope that clears it up."

Well, it doesn't matter now because it's a goner.

Atypical – four seasons

Netflix announced that Atypical's fourth season will be its last.

The show, which follows 18-year-old Sam Gardner who is on the autism spectrum, will bow out with a ten-episode run in 2021.

"I'm thrilled we’ll be doing a season four of Atypical," said creator/executive producer Robia. "And while I'm so sad to be nearing the end of this series, I am extremely grateful to have been able to tell this story.

"Our fans have been such beautiful, vibrant supporters of this show. Thank you for being so open to Sam's voice and stories, and those of the entire Gardner family.

"It's my hope that the legacy of Atypical is that more unheard voices continue to be heard and that even after this series ends, we keep telling funny, emotional stories from underrepresented points of view."

The streaming giant hasn't explained why the series won't continue beyond season four.

Ray Donovan – seven seasons

Photo credit: Showtime

Showtime confirmed that Ray Donovan would not be returning following the season seven finale on January 19.

"After seven incredible seasons, Ray Donovan has concluded its run," the network confirmed in a statement. "We are proud that the series ended amid such strong viewership and on such a powerful note."

Photo credit: Showtime

Fans of the show were furious because season seven was, by no means, the intended ending. Showrunner David Hollander had one more season planned, something that he spoke about to Vulture.

"We had no indicator that the show was ending," he said. "We were behaving creatively as though we were in mid-sentence. And so, there was no sense that this was going to be a completion. This was in no way a series finale... this wasn't meant to be [the ending]. You could spin it one way and say that it's hard to satisfy an audience with a finale, not that I didn't want to try.

"I always want the opportunity to try. I just wish I had."

Showtime hasn't revealed why it decided to can Ray Donovan, but Hollander has his suspicions.

"The corporate elements of show business are complicated and often mired in things that will never be spoken out loud," he told Vulture. "I think the easiest external impact was the merger. Whatever new environment grew from the merger clearly had some impact on their choice."

Showtime is owned by CBS, and the company recently merged with Viacom to form CBSViacom, a new company which is now worth around $30 billion.

Hollander's claim has not been verified by Showtime.

There's always a chance that another network will pick it up, and show lead Liev Schreiber sounded hopeful on Instagram: "Too soon to say how or when, but with a little luck and your ongoing support, there will be more Ray Donovan."

The Magicians – five seasons

Photo credit: SyFy

The season five finale of Syfy's The Magicians will be the show's last.

"The Magicians has been a part of our Syfy family for five fantastic seasons," read the statement. "As we near the end of this journey, we want to thank John McNamara, Sera Gamble, Henry Alonso Myers, Lev Grossman, and our entire brilliant cast, crew, writers and directors for their beautiful creation.

"But most of all, we thank the fans for their tremendous support and passion. Because of you, magic will be in our hearts forever."

According to Deadline, its current ratings, while still "healthy", are half those it achieved for its first two seasons, and it's not a cheap show to make either.

Bosch – eight seasons

Photo credit: Amazon Prime

The good news: Amazon Prime Video's Bosch is getting a seventh season.

The bad news: it will be the show's last.

The show has currently aired five seasons to date, so there's another two to go before we say goodbye forever.

We'd expect both seasons six and seven to arrive around mid-April 2020 and 2021 respectively.

"I'm proud of what we have accomplished with Bosch and look forward to completing the story in season seven," said Michael Connelly, author of the books on which it's based, in a statement.

"It's bittersweet but all good things come to an end and I am happy that we will be able to go out the way we want to. This started seven years ago with showrunner Eric Overmyer and me writing the pilot. We plan to write the last episode together as well.

Photo credit: Amazon

"We'll leave behind the longest running show so far on Amazon and it will be there to be discovered by new viewers for as long as people are streaming. That is amazing to me.

"The other thing is that we would not have come all this way without Titus Welliver. There could not have been a better actor to play this role or a better team player to build this show around. He'll be Harry Bosch for the ages."

It's a blow for fans, but at least they'll get their ending, unlike Ray Donovan.

Amazon didn't reveal why the series is ending – there's a chance that Connelly has simply run out of steam or perhaps, as is so often the case, the ratings have been on the slide although, like we said, there are no clues out there.

Spinning Out - one season

Photo credit: Netflix

Netflix's Spinning Out will not be getting a second season.

The drama, which follows Kaya Scodelario as ice skater Kat Baker, on a mission to perform at the Olympics despite the odds being stacked firmly against her, was canned by the streaming platform.

"Hey, everyone," wrote the writers on Twitter. "I'm sure you've seen the news – we've been cancelled.

"We're of course upset because we had so many stories to tell for our badass characters. Thank you so much for watching and being a part of our community. We truly appreciate each and every one of you."

Netflix didn't reveal why the show has not been renewed, but as Deadline pointed out, the company takes into account viewing figures, cost and awards recognition when deciding whether to press ahead with a title – so clearly it fell short in one of those areas.

Soundtrack - one season

Photo credit: Netflix

Soundtrack was barely given a chance to get going, the musical drama, which centres on a group of people living in LA, cancelled by Netflix after one season.

The show was originally going to air on Fox as Mixtape, but it moved to the streaming platform following a shake-up at the broadcaster.

Once again, this could be a case of low viewing figures, but without an official line from Netflix, we can only speculate.

Almost Family – one season

Photo credit: Netflix

It didn't look likely that Fox drama Almost Family would make it to season two when the network took away its regular Wednesday slot and shifted it to Saturday. Its ratings were extremely disappointing and critics weren't loving it.

The narrative follows Brittany Snow as Julia Bechley, a woman who finds out that her dad, a fertility doctor, has used his sperm to impregnate multiple women without their permission.

The situation regarding the show then became significantly more dire when Timothy Hutton, who played the father, was accused of raping Sera Dale Johnston when she was 14 years old.

Hutton has denied any wrongdoing. Fox have not commented on the allegation.

We'll add to this list throughout 2020, so make sure you bookmark this page to keep on top of all the major TV cancellations that are making headlines.

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