'The Carmichael Show' Canceled After 3 Seasons at NBC

THE CARMICHAEL SHOW S03E02 Still - Publicity - H 2017
Chris Haston/NBC

It's the end of the road for The Carmichael Show.

The current third season of the critically praised but little-seen NBC sitcom will be its last.

"The Carmichael Show was such a wonderful show that we choose to focus today not on its loss but on the three incredible seasons we had the pleasure to produce," 20th Century Fox Television presidents Jonnie Davis and Howard Kurtzman, whose studio produced the comedy, said in a statement Friday. "We are thankful to the brilliant Jerrod Carmichael and his talented cast, and to showrunner Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, our fantastic writers and devoted production team. It’s a rarity that a comedy series tackles the social and political issues of the day in such a clever and hilariously funny way. This show was special, and we will miss it."

The news comes as the options on the cast were due to expire. Further complicating the matter was the fact that The Carmichael Show is owned by 20th Century Fox Television, with NBC having to pay a license fee for the series. NBC, like many broadcast networks, is focusing more on owning its series, with all of its newly ordered shows for the 2017-2018 broadcast season produced in-house at Universal Television. That made a fourth season of the ratings-challenged sitcom increasingly unlikely. Instead, The Carmichael Show, currently in the midst of its third season, will wrap its run with a series finale in August.

"We are enormously proud of The Carmichael Show and Jerrod's talent and vision to do a classic family sitcom that also taps into issues and relevant stories from the real world," NBC Entertainment heads Bob Greenblatt and Jennifer Salke said in a statement. "We thank and salute the cast, crew, and producers — and especially Jerrod — for three critically acclaimed seasons."
Added series co-creator and star Carmichael: "For three seasons (OK 2.5), I got to make a show that I love with my friends. It's something I've wanted to do since I was 13. Now, I'm excited to go make other things that I love. Thank you to every person who worked on or watched The Carmichael Show."
The decision to cancel the series comes a little more than a year after The Carmichael Show famously earned an eleventh-hour season-three renewal after NBC had already unveiled its 2016-2017 schedule to the press. NBC brass were forced to explain the show's absence in a scheduling call with reporters, and hours later, the series earned a 13-episode season-three pickup after producers 20th TV and Carmichael had been pushing for a 22-episode run. (Sources at the time noted NBC was balking at even a 13-episode run.)

Though the show originally was to be held for midseason, NBC ultimately saved season three for a summer launch. The third season premiered on May 31, more than a year after the season-two finale. Despite the delay between seasons, The Carmichael Show had continued to draw a decent viewership, averaging a steady 0.9 demo rating among adults 18-49 in live-plus-3 numbers. The Carmichael Show had also recently secured SVOD deals with Netflix and Hulu, both of which now have the first and second seasons of the socially conscious series.

"It's hard to be on a show and not know what the fate is going to be. There are certainly some difficulties with that. But we've always approached each episode as we are dissecting something interesting for this week," Sanchez-Witzel told THR in May about the show's then-uncertain fate. "Our approach has just always been to tell good stories and tell as many of them as we can. We told the stories we wanted to tell this season and certainly hope that we have more to tell and we hope that's what ends up happening for the show."

Throughout its run, The Carmichael Show garnered critical acclaim for its ability to tackle tough topics ranging from Bill Cosby to, more recently, the N-word. Earlier this month, NBC aired the N-word unedited six times during a half-hour episode of the series. As THR TV critic Daniel Fienberg wrote in May, "This NBC comedy is among the best at what it does."

However, Carmichael also criticized the network for pulling an episode about a mass shooting that was set to air hours after the congressional baseball-practice shooting that injured several members of Congress and a second shooting in San Francisco that left four dead. The episode ultimately aired June 28, two weeks after its original premiere date.

While The Carmichael Show was NBC's longest-running comedy currently on the air, it also marked one of the network's few multicam offerings. Since trying to go broad with entries like The Michael J. Fox Show, the network has shifted back to more niche single-cam comedies like The Good Place and Great News, from Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock alums, respectively. NBC's only other multicam sitcoms are the forthcoming Will & Grace revival and Marlon Wayans' Marlon.

In addition to Carmichael, the show's cast also included Amber Stevens West, LilRel Howery, Tiffany Haddish, Loretta Devine and David Alan Grier. For her part, Haddish recently booked the female lead in Tracy Morgan's upcoming TBS comedy.

The TV series marked the first for Carmichael and followed his breakout role in 2014's Neighbors, which was directed by Carmichael Show co-creator and executive producer Nicholas Stoller. (Along with showrunner Sanchez-Witzel, A24's Ravi Nandan also exec produced the comedy.) Carmichael has since gone on to headline two HBO stand-up specials and can currently be seen in the fifth Transformers installment. He is also working on a memoir.