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In a decision that came down to the wire, the Disney-owned network on Thursday canceled Castle after eight seasons, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The cancellation came after talks about a final abbreviated season and as ABC faced a more immediate deadline to make the decision as producers were up against the wall and tasked with editing the season finale. Producers filmed two different endings as the drama remained firmly on the bubble and had prepared both of what would be a series finale and a season finale that left the door open for another cycle.
Regardless, the May 16 series finale also was set to be the last episode for female lead Stana Katic and co-star Tamala Jones — both of whom were let go as the drama looked to cut costs on the veteran procedural. Star Nathan Fillion was set to return after signing a new one-year deal with producers ABC Studios.
In its eighth season, Castle had been a sturdy performer for ABC on Mondays. With seven days of DVR, the drama has averaged a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49 and 10 million total viewers. A final season would have allowed the network as well as returning showrunners Terence Paul Winter and Alexi Hawley — who boarded in season eight — to properly close out what has been a profitable series for the studio.
Sources told THR in April, following Katic’s dismissal — which caught most of the cast and crew by surprise — that ABC considered writing out the actress’s Kate Beckett at the end of season seven but balked when the network faced backlash after Patrick Dempsey’s Derek Shepherd was shockingly killed off and written out of Grey’s Anatomy with a year remaining on his contract.
Of the network’s drama pilot offerings — all picked up by former ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee but developed by new entertainment president and former drama topper Channing Dungey — most are in ABC’s soapy wheelhouse, with only a smattering of the procedural nature. It also would have behooved ABC to renew Castle, a show with a loyal audience that it owns, versus taking on the costs associated with launching a new drama series.
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