'Stumptown' Renewal Reversed: ABC Drama Becomes Latest COVID-Related Cancellation

ABC/Kelsey McNeal
ABC/Kelsey McNeal

ABC's Stumptown is the latest previously renewed series to be canceled in the wake of issues stemming from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Disney-owned broadcaster has reversed course on its renewal and instead opted to strike the show from its schedule due to timing and scheduling issues. The decision comes as a shocker for the Cobie Smulders-led drama series, which was poised to be part of ABC's 2021 scripted lineup.

Sources say the decision to scrap the series was based on a number of factors starting with the show's creative reboot for season two. ABC execs were high on the series after season one and brought in a new showrunner for its second run, with Monica Owusu-Breen (Alias, Lost, Fringe) replacing Matt Olmstead. The latter was co-showrunner on season one alongside creator Jason Richman.

Sources note that the reinvention for season two didn't come in as well as executives would have liked. Production on season two had not yet started in L.A., meaning ABC would not have had episodes ready to air until April at the earliest. That was later than the fall launch that ABC executives originally intended for the series. While Stumptown was owned in-house at ABC Signature, it was still an expensive series to air late in the season when many lower-cost "midseason replacement" shows typically launch. All told, it was a lack of creative steam, late delivery and high price tag were all factors that ultimately led to the drama's cancellation. ABC is expected to announce return dates for its fall drama offerings soon.

Reps for ABC and ABC Signature declined comment.

Stumptown joins Netflix's The Society and I Am Not Okay With This as well as TBS' I'm Sorry and USA Network's Evel to be scrapped because of issues related to the global pandemic.

The decision to reverse course on the renewal comes as a surprise given that the show was produced in-house by ABC Signature. Based on the Oni Press graphic novel of the same name, the private-eye drama was a frontrunner at ABC throughout its development season and quickly developed a loyal following and was renewed in May for a sophomore run.

Stumptown was one of only two dramas from ABC's 2019-20 class to earn a second season. With its cancellation, midseason entry For Life now has that distinction. For Life and Black-ish spinoff Mixed-ish are now the lone shows from last year's freshman class to return.

Updated 6:28 p.m. with more reporting.