It’s that time of year when networks must make decisions on the future of their programming. We’ve already seen some surprising moves and totally expected cancellations announced. However, CBS thrilled fans of the cop drama S.W.A.T. when it decided to renew the series just days after initially announcing its cancellation.
According to TV Line, on Friday, the Shemar Moore drama was officially axed. However, a fiery response from the star and a loud backlash from its fans seemingly changed CBS’ mind. When the show’s cancellation was originally announced, Moore took to Instagram to share his frustrations, saying, “I’m a little bit sad. I’m a lot of bit sad…S.W.A.T. got canceled. It makes no sense. The last two years, we’ve been killing it…We’ve done nothing wrong. We’ve done everything that was asked for. Did you know that I am the only African American male lead on network TV?…S.W.A.T. is the most diverse show on CBS. Don’t think we’re done. CBS is either gonna wake up and realize they made a mistake. Sony is gonna do their math and realize that this is not the right move. I hope we can have a kumbaya and come back together and continue this show because it’s a good time for families across the world.”
While Moore’s frustrations are understood, for the record, All American; The Neighborhood; Law & Order; Grand Crew; and NCIS: Los Angeles all have Black male leads.
It looks like he was right about everyone changing their minds, however, because on Monday, CBS reversed course and decided to bring the series back for a seventh and final season. If you read between the lines of the network’s statement, CBS and Sony Pictures Television probably realized the show makes more money than they thought and the studio couldn’t afford to lose it right now.
There’s also the impact of the WGA Writers Strike, which has led to uncertainty about the upcoming 2023-24 TV season. Though many pilots have been produced and finished, that doesn’t mean a full series is ready. It makes sense that networks would rely on proven hits like S.W.A.T., instead of rolling the dice on something that can’t start production until the strike is over. At the very least, CBS can still air reruns of the procedural until writers and studios come to an agreement and production can resume. Why do you think CBS practically renewed its entire schedule? Why is ABC willing to pick up 9-1-1 for Season 7? NBC is sticking with what works and bringing back all of its One Chicago and Law & Order series. In addition to reality shows and adjustments in streaming schedules, the strike could lead to more unlikely renewals. This begs the question: Will Black-led shows benefit from TV networks’ desperation?