TBS continues to thin the herd of its scripted originals.
The basic cable network, now part of the sprawling Warner Bros. Discovery portfolio, has canceled Tracy Morgan comedy The Last O.G. after a four-season run. Sources say that the decision to ax the comedy was made months ago after the now fourth season and ultimate series finale aired back in December.
The decision comes as little surprise after the comedy hit a string of series lows in season four, which marked the show’s first without leading lady Tiffany Haddish. The Last O.G. had a long road to the screen and marked Morgan’s first role since the devastating 2014 crash that left him in a coma with several broken bones. The show was originally developed at FX in 2016 before moving to TBS with a series order.
The comedy has also burned through a new showrunner every season after Owen Smith (Black-ish) steered season four, having replaced Keenen Ivory Wayans. Wayans replaced Saladin Patterson, who stepped in for creator John Carcieri in season two.
As for TBS, the cable network has continued to cut back on scripted originals over the past few years as audiences and development dollars shift to streaming. Once home to a sprawling portfolio that featured the likes of House of Payne, For Better or Worse, Cougar Town, Ground Floor, Angie Tribeca, People of Earth and Search Party, among others, TBS’ current slate has dwindled down to Fox transfer American Dad (renewed through 2023), the fourth season of anthology Miracle Workers and Nassim Pedrad’s long-gestating comedy Chad. The cabler recently made the decision to scrap Damon Wayans Jr. comedy Kill the Orange-Faced Bear, which landed at TBS after another linear cable network (Comedy Central) passed on it amid their own retreat from scripted.
TBS’ sibling network, TNT, has made the same retreat from scripted with a handful of shows earmarked for the network having either been dropped entirely, moved to HBO Max or sold to third-party buyers. TNT’s roster features only Snowpiercer and the upcoming final season of Animal Kingdom. The cabler, too, was also once home to a sizable slate of scripted that included Claws, The Last Ship, The Librarians, Major Crimes, Murder in the First, Rizzoli & Isles, Falling Skies, Southland, Dallas and scores of others.
It’s important to note that the cancellation sprees at TBS and TNT predate the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger. Linear networks, be it cable or broadcast, have dramatically reduced the volume of originals since viewers moved to streaming. Scripted series are expensive to produce when compared with reality or unscripted programming. As every conglomerate now has their own streaming platform, the days of revenue from SVOD deals to Netflix and international sales have evaporated as those rights become paramount to program internal platforms as companies hold on to their assets rather than supplying them to others.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter