'Designated Survivor,' 'Tuca and Bertie' Canceled at Netflix

Designated Survivor and Tuca and Bertie-Publicity stills-Split-H 2019

Netflix is continuing to reallocate resources when it comes to scripted originals. 

The streamer has canceled the ABC-turned-Netflix drama series Designated Survivor after a three-season run and the rookie animated comedy Tuca and Bertie

“We are proud to have offered fans a third season of Designated Survivor, and will continue to carry all three seasons for years to come," Netflix said Wednesday in a statement. "We’re especially thankful to star and executive producer Kiefer Sutherland, who brought passion, dedication and an unforgettable performance as President Kirkman. We’re also grateful to showrunner/executive producer Neal Bear for his guiding vision and steady hand, creator/executive producer David Guggenheim and EPs Mark Gordon, Suzan Bymel, Simon Kinberg, Aditya Sood and Peter Noah along with the cast and crew who crafted a compelling and satisfying final season.” 

Designated Survivor moved to Netflix for its third season and came with yet another creative reset as the series had a whopping five showrunners. The show also saw ABC Studios depart with the move to Netflix as the Entertainment One-produced drama became a co-production with Netflix. 

Tuca and Bertie, meanwhile, ran for one season and featured Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong in leading voice roles. The series, a Netflix original, hailed from Bojack Horseman executive producer Lisa Hanawalt.

“Lisa Hanawalt created a relatable yet whimsical world in Tuca and Bertie," said Netflix. "We’re grateful to Lisa, and her fellow executive producers Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Noel Bright, Steven A. Cohen, and EPs/stars Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong, along with all of the writers and animators for sharing the funny and dynamic female bird duo of Tuca and Bertie with the world. While Tuca and Bertie won’t have a second season, we’re proud to feature this story on Netflix for years to come.”

Hanawalt bemoaned the cancellation Wednesday on Twitter with a heartfelt thread that also took a jab at Netflix's penchant for axing originals based on cryptic data from an algorithm. (Netflix, like other streamers, does not release viewership data.) "Everyone is still glowing over the reviews and articles and feedback. T&B is critically acclaimed and has repeatedly been called one of the best new shows of the year," she wrote. "None of this makes a difference to an algorithm, but it’s important to me and the way I want to continue making art in this world."

The cancellations arrive as Netflix continues to weigh whether its financial resources are best spent on new seasons of returning series or totally new originals. The streamer recently canceled She's Gotta Have It (after two seasons) and Chambers (after one).

Tuca and Bertie marks another increasingly common one-and-done for Netflix, which currently has an 80 percent renewal rate for freshman series. The streamer typically weighs viewing vs. costs: If a series reaches a small audience but does not cost a lot to produce, it typically can return. The animated comedy cancellation is surprising given that Netflix launched an animation studio as it continues to invest in the space. (The series itself was produced by Tornante.)

The streamer has also come under fire of late for its penchant of cancelling scripted originals focused on underserved communities (including One Day at a Time). Netflix is currently embroiled in a salary dispute with the stars of On My Block, who are seeking sizable pay increases. Netflix head of originals Cindy Holland previously told THR that the company remains committed to stories focused on underrepresented communities with programming including Dear White People, Family Reunion, On My Block, Madam CJ Walker, its Emmy-nominated When They See Us and multiple films, among others.