These days there are more television shows than ever vying for our attention. On the plus side, it means there are an insane number of great shows to watch but, on the other hand, it also means there are huge numbers of much-loved shows being canceled every year, too. Here are 20 shows that were handed their marching orders in 2020 and 20 more that survived for at least one more season.
20. CANCELED – Supernatural
The 15-season journey of Supernatural, the longest running sci-fi series in U.S. history, finally came to an end in 2020. Star Jared Padalecki’s emotion was clear in an Instagram post announcing the end of the show. He wrote, “I am so incredibly grateful for the family that we’ve all built together.” He added, “I’m also typing through tears. So, please forgive me. ‘Til next time.”
20. CONTINUED – Ellen
Ellen embarked upon the 18th season of her daytime talk show in September 2020, following its renewal for three more years in May 2019. This time, though, ratings were down a massive 38 percent, possibly due to the bad press circulating about the show’s allegedly toxic workplace environment. Ellen’s public image seems to have suffered, though she will be hoping there is no lasting damage to her popularity.
19. CANCELED – Stumptown
This cancelation was particularly cruel for Stumptown fans, as the show had initially been renewed by ABC for a second season. The COVID-19 pandemic made the network reconsider its decision, though, with an insider telling Variety magazine that it had thrown off the scheduling of Season Two’s production. Hope still remained, however, as ABC was exploring the potential for a streamer or another network to pick up the show going forward.
19. CONTINUED – Blue Bloods
“I don’t think there is an end point. I think there is a lot of life in the show, as long as you let your characters grow and get older.” Blue Bloods star Tom Selleck said these prophetic words to PEOPLE magazine in an article published on May 1, 2020. Five days later, the show was officially renewed for its 11th season. Selleck knows his stuff.
18. CANCELED – Arrow
The last episode of Arrow aired on The CW on January 28. News that the superhero show was due to end with its eighth season broke in March 2019, with producers indicating that it had run its natural course. Star Stephen Amell then posted a video on Facebook Live, saying he was leaving in order to spend more time with his family and forge a life away from Vancouver, where the show was filmed.
18. CONTINUED – The Goldbergs
The Goldbergs star Troy Gentile told website TVLine in September 2019 that, following its seventh season, he envisioned the show being renewed for two more. In May, 2020 half of his prediction came true when ABC renewed it for Season Eight. Unfortunately for fans, though, the spin-off Schooled was canceled after its second season in the same press release. From the highest of heights to the depths of despair in one announcement.
17. CANCELED – The Good Place
The Good Place concluded its run on January 30, 2020. Shockingly, the cancelation was entirely a creative decision, a rarity in the television landscape. Creator Michael Schur explained on Twitter, “I began to feel like four seasons – just over 50 episodes – was the right lifespan.” He added, “I will be forever grateful to NBC and Universal TV for letting us make The Good Place, and for letting us end it on our own schedule.”
17. CONTINUED – Miracle Workers
October saw the renewal of Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi’s oddball anthology comedy series Miracle Workers at TBS. Adrienne O’Riain and Sam Linsky, the co-heads of original programming for the network, said, “Miracle Workers is a perfect example of the fun, escapist humor that we take pride in delivering to our viewers. We can’t wait to see how this incredibly dynamic cast and talented group of storytellers hilariously rewrite 19th-century history.”
16. CANCELED – Vikings
The final season of Vikings is due to conclude in 2020, following the announcement of the show’s cancelation way back in 2019. Fans didn’t have to worry too much, though, as it was revealed at the same time that creator Michael Hirst had been tapped to develop a sequel series. In November, 2019 it emerged that Netflix had ordered Vikings: Valhalla, which would be set 100 years after the original show.
16. CONTINUED – The Rookie
ABC renewed police procedural The Rookie for a third season in May 2020 and the news clearly excited star Nathan Fillion. He posted on social media, “Congratulations to some of the most incredible talent I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Cast, crew, writers, guests – it’s all an embarrassment of riches.” It’s nice to see a TV veteran like Fillion hasn’t lost his passion for the work.
15. CANCELED – Criminal Minds
After a mind-boggling 325 episodes, Criminal Minds came to an end on February 19, 2020. The show had been canceled in 2019 by CBS with the announcement of a final, shortened ten-episode 15th season. Ratings had declined steadily over the years, and two attempted spin-offs had been short-lived, so the network decided it was time to pull the plug on one of its most venerable franchises.
15. CONTINUED – Star Trek: Discovery
CBS All Access posted a video on its official YouTube channel in October that delighted Trekkies all over the world. It announced a fourth series of Star Trek: Discovery and star Doug Jones told fans how excited he was to get back to work. Jones commented, “I’m looking forward to the one thing I always look most forward to when we get to come back for another season, and that is to be reunited with my family again, the Trek family, the Discovery family.”
14. CANCELED – Fresh Off The Boat
Fresh Off The Boat, the first U.S. series featuring a predominantly Asian-American main cast to air over 100 episodes, ended in February after six seasons. The cancelation was announced in November 2019, six months after star Constance Wu’s controversial negative tweets prompted by the series being granted a sixth season to wrap up its story. The bad press meant the show had something of a dark cloud over its final season.
14. CONTINUED – Batwoman
Batwoman was renewed by The CW for a second season way back in January 2020. But then the show was thrown a curveball when star Ruby Rose quit the lead role. Producers chose to create a new character to take on the mantle, rather than risk recasting Rose’s character. It meant actress Javicia Leslie will be the first black Batwoman and fans will get their first taste of her performance when the show returns in January 2021.
13. CANCELED – Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt For The Bone Collector
Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt For The Bone Collector debuted on NBC in January 2020. The show, based on a popular series of novels by Jeffrey Deaver, finished its ten-episode first season in March, but by June it had been officially canceled. No reason was volunteered by the network. However, given that the ratings were by no means disastrous, it was theorized that the axe was brought down due to COVID-19 playing havoc with the cost of producing a second season.
13. CONTINUED – The Flash
The Flash was renewed in January 2020 for a seventh season of DC Comics superhero adventures. However, one cast member will not be returning alongside the Scarlet Speedster. Hartley Sawyer, who played Ralph Dibny, also known as The Elongated Man, was fired from the show in June after inappropriate tweets from his past resurfaced.
12. CANCELED – Hawaii Five-0
The two-hour series finale of Hawaii Five-0 aired in April 2020 and it capped off a decade on the air for the massively successful reboot of the original show, which ran from 1968 to 1980. Producer Peter M. Lenkovne, “I think the network just thought it was a good time. There are so many different things that factor into this – economics, everything – and I think they felt it was the right time.” Pretty simple, really.
12. CONTINUED – Manifest
Manifest creator Jeff Rake pitched the show to Warner Brothers and NBC as a six-season epic. In June he received confirmation that he’d be able to see his vision through to at least the halfway point, with the show getting a renewal for season three. He told digital newsletter SyFy Wire, “We don’t always know the number of episodes we get per season, so we roll with the punches. But the show wants to be six seasons.”
11. CANCELED – Modern Family
When Modern Family aired its series finale on April 8, 2020 it bowed out at the top of its game, with the show’s highest ratings in three years. But despite the show running an incredible 11 seasons, star Sofia Vergara told The Daily Telegraph newspaper that she wanted it to keep going. She lamented, “Why can’t it be Law & Order? It was the dream job and if I could do it all again I would and I wouldn’t change anything.”
11. CONTINUED – New Amsterdam
Within the U.S. television system, cancelation is usually a very real threat. The makers of a show often don’t know until the 11th hour whether they’re being brought back for another season or not. On rare occasions, though, a show is so monumentally successful that it gets renewed for multiple seasons at a time. Medical drama New Amsterdam is one such show: in January 2020 it was renewed for a whopping third, fourth and fifth seasons.
10. CANCELED – How To Get Away With Murder
After six thrilling seasons, How To Get Away With Murder concluded on May 14, 2020. A number of factors reportedly influenced ABC to end the show, including creator Pete Nowalk feeling the time was right to wrap things up. But super-producer Shonda Rhimes had also left ABC to sign a lucrative development deal with Netflix and, according to magazine The Hollywood Reporter, the main cast’s contracts ended after the sixth season, making a seventh season more expensive to produce.
10. CONTINUED – Awkwafina is Nora From Queens
Comedy Central showed how much they believe in comedian Awkwafina when they renewed her sitcom Awkwafina is Nora From Queens for a second season before the first episode of season one had even aired. In January 2020 the heads of original content at the network issued a statement saying, “We are in awe of Awkwafina’s creative genius on every level and we could not be more excited to embark on a Season Two…” Whoa.
9. CANCELED – Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The final season of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. may have netted the show’s lowest viewing figures, but it was well-received by critics and the fanbase that had stuck with it over the course of seven seasons. Marvel was behind the decision to bow out, not ABC, according to Marvel Television boss Jeph Loeb. He told Deadline magazine that the decision was driven by the producers wanting to end the show on their own terms.
9. CONTINUED – Yellowstone
The fourth season renewal for Paramount Network’s Yellowstone was just one part of ViacomCBS showing how committed it is to creator Taylor Sheridan. The show, which stars Kevin Costner, has been a hit for the network, but the parent company also wanted to secure Sheridan’s considerable creative talents for other projects, so they signed him to an overall development deal. This will include a second show at Paramount, entitled Mayor Of Kingstown.
8. CANCELED – Carol’s Second Act
Patricia Heaton is U.S. sitcom royalty, having starred as Debra Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond and Frankie Heck in The Middle. Both of those shows lasted nine seasons and over 200 episodes, but her latest sitcom Carol’s Second Act wouldn’t be so lucky. The medical comedy had its life support turned off after only one 18-episode season, due to poor ratings.
8. CONTINUED – Family Guy
Like The Simpsons and South Park before it, Family Guy has become an integral part of the TV landscape. The adult animation was renewed by Fox for Seasons 20 and 21 in September 2020, meaning it will be on the air until at least 2023. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see the show keep going for another decade or more, as long as the audience is still there.
7. CANCELED – Deputy
Deputy seemed to have all the elements needed for a hit show. A modern-day Western crime procedural, it starred Stephen Dorff, fresh off his comeback role in True Detective, and the pilot was directed by Suicide Squad’s David Ayer. Unfortunately, it simply never found a big enough audience over the course of its 13-episode season. In fact, it was Fox’s second-lowest-rated drama.
7. CONTINUED – Charmed
This reboot of a popular show from the late ’90s/early ’00s was renewed for a third season in January 2020. Unfortunately, two stars of the original show, Holly Marie Combs and Rose McGowan, engaged in a Twitter beef with one of the new stars in October. Responding to a video of McGowan saying the new show “sucks”, Sarah Jeffrey called the older actresses “pathetic.” Combs then accused Jeffrey of making “derogatory accusations” against her character. Oh dear.
6. CANCELED – The 100
The CW’s cult hit The 100 aired its final episode on October 1, 2020, after being officially canceled in August 2019. Show creator Jason Rothenberg told TVLine that he had been trying to convince the network to let the seventh season be its last for some time. He said, “We feel like it’s time to get out while the getting’s [sic] good. We want to leave [the fans] wanting more. We don’t want to overstay our welcome.”
6. CONTINUED – Nancy Drew
Teenage sleuth Nancy Drew’s mysteries date back to her first appearance in the 1930 story The Secret Of The Old Clock. Therefore, it’s slightly surprising that The CW’s current TV version is only the third show starring the character. The show was renewed for a second season in January 2020 and in October a spin-off entitled Tom Swift was announced.
5. CANCELED – The Magicians
The Magicians ended after five seasons on April 1, 2020 and this one was purely a financial call. Executive producer John McNamara told TV Insider, “It’s not going to necessarily expand in terms of revenue, it’s not necessarily going to contract in terms of revenue, but it is going to cost more.” As executive producer Sera Gamble added, the SyFy network was “hitting the point of ‘The cup is full and there’s no more room.’”
5. CONTINUED – The Unicorn
Previously known for intense roles in crime shows like The Shield and Justified, Walton Goggins has tried his hand at comedy in the last few years. He starred in HBO series Vice Principals and The Righteous Gemstones but hit sitcom paydirt with CBS’ The Unicorn, which was renewed for a second season in May 2020. The new season is expected to debut in November.
4. CANCELED – Future Man
When Future Man launched in 2017, the sci-fi comedy seemed set for big things. With The Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson in front of the camera and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg behind, it had all the necessary ingredients to be a hit for Hulu. In the end, it wound up canceled after three seasons, the last of which was labeled, “a little disappointing but not inessential” by entertainment news website Collider.
4. CONTINUED – black-ish
TV show black-ish was renewed by ABC for a seventh season in May, 2020 at the same time as its spin-off mixed-ish was given a second season. The renewals came four months after another spin-off, grown-ish was also brought back for a fourth season by Freeform. The success of Kenya Barris’ sitcom universe continues unabated.
3. CANCELED – Will & Grace
Beloved sitcom Will & Grace originally ended in 2006 after eight seasons, before being revived in 2017. It was canceled in July 2019 after suffering a huge drop in ratings during the second season of the revival. The final episode aired on April 23, 2020, with NBC chairman Paul Telegdy telling TVLine it had come to a natural end. Rumors swirled, though, that a feud between stars Debra Messing and Megan Mullally had hastened its demise.
3. CONTINUED – Good Girls
Good Girls, the NBC female-centric crime comedy, is a show that has benefited from its first two seasons being available to stream on Netflix in the U.S. In its third season, the show averaged 3.4 million viewers and came 12th for NBC in its demo rating. But it was the second-highest-performing NBC show on digital/streaming platforms. So NBC was happy to renew the show for a fourth season in May.
2. CANCELED – Man With A Plan
CBS’ May 6, 2020 announcement of Man With A Plan’s cancelation took its fanbase by surprise, as the Matt Le Blanc-starring sitcom had enjoyed consistently high ratings. It turned out the network needed to cut production costs wherever it could when it merged with Viacom in 2019, and the budget was simply too high for the show to stay on the air. It finished up its 69-episode run on June 11, 2020.
2. CONTINUED – Prodigal Son
Prodigal Son was renewed in May for a second season, which is due to hit screens in January 2021. Michael Thorn, Fox president of entertainment, said, “From the moment Prodigal Son premiered, fans have been captivated by the astounding performances turned in by Tom Payne and Michael Sheen, as they go head-to-head in one of the most unique family relationships on television.” The dynamic between criminal profiler Malcolm Bright and his serial killer father Dr. Martin Whitly truly is the selling point of the show.
1. CANCELED – Briarpatch
This crime drama, which starred Rosario Dawson, was axed after only one ten-episode season by the USA Network. Creator Andy Greenwald tweeted, “Though I’ve known for months, it’s still a bummer. We had an amazing story planned for Season Two and I was lucky enough to work with the most amazing writers and crew, all of whom were itching to get back to work. I think we were going to do something special.”
1. CONTINUED – Killing Eve
Killing Eve has been a phenomenon, so it wasn’t surprising when BBC America, which is owned by BBC Studios and AMC Networks, renewed the show for a fourth season in January. AMC Studios president Sarah Barnett waxed lyrical in an official statement, saying, “How could we not have massive confidence in Killing Eve? It has won big in every major award show and is the highest growing show on U.S. television for six years.”