5:43pm PT by Kim Masters, Bryn Sandberg
'SMILF' Canceled at Showtime Amid Probe Into Creator Frankie Shaw's Alleged Misconduct
Showtime is getting out of the SMILF business.
Amid producer ABC Studios' investigation into SMILF creator and star Frankie Shaw's alleged on-set misconduct, Showtime has opted to not renew the Golden Globe-nominated comedy for a third season.
"After weighing a variety of factors, Showtime has decided that SMILF will not move forward for a third season. The remainder of the second season will continue to air as scheduled on Showtime through its series finale on March 31. We remain extremely proud of the two seasons of SMILF, and thank Frankie Shaw for her singular voice and unique creation, as well as the dozens of writers, producers, actors, directors and crew members both in Los Angeles and on location in Boston, who contributed to this exceptional series," Showtime said Friday in a statement.
ABC Studios, which produced SMILF and had Shaw under an overall deal, has suspended that pact. "Frankie Shaw’s overall deal with ABC Studios has been suspended without pay while we review our options," an ABC Studios spokesperson said in a statement.
The news comes after lawmakers in Massachusetts — where the Boston-set series at least partially shoots — wrote a letter urging the show's tax incentives to be suspended pending the outcome of ABC's investigation into the show. In addition, local legislators and activists called on the state's Attorney General Office to launch a separate and independent investigation into the matter.
In December, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that numerous employees of the Showtime comedy had made claims about inappropriately handled sex scenes and Shaw's "completely unprofessional" behavior. Actress Samara Weaving exited the series after she claimed her contract was breached during the filming of a sex scene in the second season. Also among the allegations were complaints brought to the WGA by multiple staffers regarding credit issues and alleged race-based separation.
"These allegations are serious and disturbing," said Massachusetts state senator Nick Collins. "Massachusetts taxpayers cannot subsidize segregation and discrimination; unfair labor practice and harassment. That’s why my colleagues and I are calling for the State to withhold any tax credits that this production is eligible for, until an independent investigation by the proper authorities has taken place."
With her PR tour for the second season of the show — which debuted Jan. 20 — in full swing, Shaw has been chalking up the claims to inexperience as a first-time showrunner. "I went from making short films in my basement to running a crew of over 215 people and there's a lot of lessons along the way," she said on NBC's Late Night With Seth Meyers. When Meyers went on to point out that "at no point in show business is there a management meeting," the creator-star replied, "Thank you for saying that. I'll clap to that," making no mention of the fact that she participated in the WGA's competitive Showrunner Training Program.
The half-hour comedy, which stars Shaw as a hard-luck single mom, debuted to critical acclaim in late 2017. The series was up for two Golden Globes last year, one for best television comedy or musical and another for Shaw's performance. As THR previously reported, ABC Signature announced its two-year overall deal with Shaw last summer, and Showtime has been in deep talks to put her at the helm of its Sylvia Plath limited series The Bell Jar. The current status of the latter negotiations are unknown at this time.