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The news from Apple isn’t good.
The iPhone maker/streamer has canceled its Jason Katims-produced drama Dear Edward, making the series about the lone survivor of a plane crash one of Apple’s few scripted shows to get the ax after a single season.
Based on the book by Ann Napolitano, the series reunited Friday Night Lights creator Katims with leading lady Connie Britton and revolved around Edward (Colin O’Brien), a young boy who was the lone survivor of a plane crash. Taylor Schilling, Amy Forsyth, Carter Hudson, Anna Uzele, Idris DeBrand, Ivan Saw, Dario Ladani Sanchez, Eva Ariel Binder and Brittany S. Hall rounded out the cast. (Britton only had a one-year deal for the show, though Katims expressed hope of continuing her story should a second season have come.)
Dear Edward was the first show to stem from Katims’ former overall deal with Apple, after he moved his True Jack Productions banner from his former home at Universal Television. (True Jack’s deal is now with Imagine TV.) True Jack’s Jeni Mulein and author Napolitano also exec produced the series, which was fully owned by Apple Studios as the tech giant looks to own more of its own pricey scripted originals.
Dear Edward launched with three episodes in February and wrapped its 10-episode run in March. The series has a 55 percent score among critics and 65 percent rating with viewers on Rotten Tomatoes. In his review, The Hollywood Reporter chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg said of the show: “Ten episodes of nonstop grief, even well-crafted grief, is a lot of grief.”
Katims told THR in March after the finale that Apple was “big fans of the show” and was hoping to hear good news that ultimately would not come. The finale did, however, set up what a second season would focus on as Edward discovers a trove of letters written to him by the families of others who perished in the crash and a long-lost family member of his own.
“[W]e wanted to show that there are many more stories to tell here,” Katims said of the ending. “One of the things I love about this show is the large ensemble and all these people who are connected over this tragic accident in ways they never would have been before. Season one was about this grief group and people coming together and making a huge impact on each other’s lives. The idea of Edward finding these letters and reaching out to people who reached out to him is something I’d love to explore in season two, especially with this character we set up with this uncle he never knew he had.”
Katims also addressed the challenges of keeping a scripted show on the air in the Peak TV landscape. “While I fully hope to continue to tell this story — and we have a lot of stories left to tell — if we don’t, I’m proud of the work. I keep getting such passionate responses from people watching the show. It feels similar to what happened with Friday Night Lights and Parenthood where, as we get to know the characters after four or six episodes, viewers get connected and invested in them. I’m proud of that and hope that people take away that it’s a show that’s moving to tell the story of these people who have gone through this unfathomable thing together. It’s a story of resilience and moving on and finding the power of the human spirit; of people to be able to learn and move on from this and not let it stop them in their tracks.”
For Apple, Dear Edward joins Little Voice and Shantaram as scripted originals to be canceled after a single season (that weren’t intended to be closed-ended single-season stories).
Katims, meanwhile, has multiple shows in the works via his deal with Friday Night Lights producers Imagine Television. His last streaming show before Dear Edward, Amazon’s beloved As We See It, was also canceled after a single season despite having a writers room at work for months on a potential second season.
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