The Most Shocking and Controversial Show Cancellations

For every show that sticks around for an interminable number of seasons, there always seems to be at least two wonderful shows that are cancelled well before their time. Sometimes it’s because ratings have dropped, and the network can’t justify the show’s existence to their advertisers anymore, while other times key cast members or producers decide to move on and leave the show to flounder. All of these are valid reasons for a show being cancelled.

Then, there are shows like these, which have all been cancelled for a variety of strange and mysterious reasons that we’ll reveal to you today.


The cancellation of the Roseanne reboot is pretty fresh in everyone’s minds, but just so we’re all clear. This show was cancelled because one person decided to tweet something horrifically ignorant and racist.

On May 29, 2018, a month after ABC greenlit the reboot’s second season, Roseanne Barr posted a raciest tweet about Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett. She later claimed that she was under the influence of sleeping pills at the time, but even her half-hearted apologies weren’t enough to stop ABC from pulling the plug on the show, officially sending the cast and crew back into retirement.

Well that was until ABC greenlit The Conners, a spinoff featuring everyone but Roseanne.



It seems hard to remember a time that Ellen DeGeneres wasn’t dominating the airwaves. She’s been the host of the popular talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show since 2003.

However, back in 1994, she had her own sitcom called Ellen which followed a character also named Ellen living life in a big city. In 1997, Ellen DeGeneres came out publicly, and there was an episode of Ellen where her character did the same. Her show was cancelled a year later after ABC, under pressure from religious organizations and lobbying groups, cut back on promotions and the show’s ratings fell accordingly.

Reading Rainbow

If you’re a millennial, chances are you remember Reading Rainbow, the cheerful PBS show that was focused on fostering children’s love for reading. It ran from 1983 to 2006, and scooped up an astounding 200 separate broadcast awards, including 26 Emmys.

In 2006, the show was cancelled after government initiatives put pressure on public broadcasting corporations like PBS to provide more tangible skills to children instead of just encouragement. PBS took the money they were spending on Reading Rainbow and used it for programming that taught more straightforward phonics and spelling.

However, it’s not all bad news as host LeVar Burton just raised over $5 million on Kickstarter to bring back Reading Rainbow as an app.

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