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These Were the Most Surprising TV Cancellations of 2019

Designated Survivor, Claws, and Empire all had the plug pulled this year.

Hearing your favorite show is suddenly canceled is as jarring as being woken up by your weekday alarm on a Saturday. We all have our favorites, and we get attached to the characters, the plot lines, and sometimes even the flaws, which is why it's such a challenge to say goodbye. Here are some of the most surprising TV cancellations of 2019: These shows may be gone or on the way out, but they will live on forever in our hearts—and on whatever streaming services end up with the rights.

One Day at a Time

one day at a time
Act III Productions/IMDB

The Netflix reboot of Norman Mailer's famed sitcom was adored by critics and fans alike, so it was shocking when Netflix canned the show after three seasons in March 2019. Fans launched a social media campaign, #SaveODAT, to voice their disappointment and push for a change of heart. And it actually worked, with Pop TV—which also brought Schitt's Creek to the U.S.—picked it up for a 13-episode fourth season. This is one surprising cancellation with a happy ending. No word on if there will be life beyond Season 4, but at least this gives One Day at a Time fans time to prepare for the end.

Designated Survivor (again)

designated survivor

Designated Survivor was a show that defied the odds—until it couldn't anymore. ABC canceled it in May 2018 after two seasons, but Netflix scooped it up for an additional 10-episode Season 3. And then Netflix… canceled it again in July 2019, saying they were "thankful" for the show. Hey, at least, Kiefer Sutherland is now free to pursue new opportunities.

Fresh Off the Boat

fresh off the boat
Fierce Baby Productions/IMDB

Fresh Off the Boat, the longest-running sitcom about Asian-Americans, was canceled in November 2019 after six seasons. Creator Nahnatchka Khan said in a statement that the show "was truly a special experience and hopefully will forever be a reminder of all the stories out there that deserve to be told. Like the Notorious B.I.G. said, 'And if you don't know, now you know.'" We're guessing Constance Wu's feelings about the cancellation are… mixed.


Le Train Train/IMDB

At the onset, it didn't seem like a show combining crime and nail salons would work. Claws surpassed expectations, but after a wild Season 3, TNT announced in October 2019 that Claws would get only one more season to showcase Niecy Nash, Judy Reyes, and the rest of the manicurists at Nail Artisans of Manatee County.

The Gifted

the gifted
Flying Glass of Milk Productions/IMDB

Marvel movies and TV shows are obviously big business in today's world, but Fox's X-Men-adjacent drama The Gifted only got two seasons to tell its tale of mutants and superpowers: Fox canceled it in April 2019. There was talk of Disney picking it up, but no word on that just yet.

Man in the High Castle

the man in the high castle
Amazon Studios/IMDB

Amazon's series about an alternate reality where the Nazis and Imperial Japan won World War II is frightening, thrilling, and… not long for this world. Amazon gave it the axe in February 2019, with its upcoming fourth season being its last. Looks like fans will have to find another dystopian show to stress them out.


Imagine Television/IMDB

Soapy as it was, Empire was always super entertaining. But after the Jussie Smollett controversy and flailing ratings, Fox opted to cancel the musical drama after its sixth season in 2019. How about we give Cookie Lyon her own spinoff instead?

Fuller House

fuller house
Jeff Franklin Productions

Everywhere you look, it's… another show being canceled. This time, it's Fuller House, a reboot of the '90s classic Full House. Netflix announced in February 2019 that the show would get a fifth season before ending for good. According to Business Insider, only the most loyal fans were still watching, so it was probably time to put it out to pasture.


Pig Newton/IMDB

Zach Galifianakis did double duty as twin brothers Chip and Dale Baskets on the acclaimed comedy series, and now he will be doing zero duty, because FX canceled Baskets in July 2019. The finale aired in August, bringing an end to the clown makeup and Louie Anderson's potential for more Emmy wins.

BoJack Horseman

bojack horseman

Netflix announced a sixth season of BoJack Horseman would air in 2019, but in September 2019, they said it would be the show's last, and split into two parts. Even a 98 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes couldn't save this show. Some fans have expressed concern that the cancellation was directly tied to the series' animators pushing for union wages. In an interview with Vulture, creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg just said it was a business decision by Netflix, and not his choice.

Lindsay Denninger
Lindsay Denninger is a pop culture and food writer and editor. Read more
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