Network TV is about to get a lot less daring: NBC is saying goodbye to The Carmichael Show.
The clever, provocative, issue-conscious family comedy — which stars rising comedian Jerrod Carmichael — has been canceled, EW has learned. The series, which stands as NBC’s longest-running comedy, is currently airing its 13-episode third season, which wraps up in August.
On Friday, Carmichael put out a statement, obtained by EW, announcing his exit from the series; goodbyes from the network and producing studio 20th Century Fox quickly followed. “For three seasons (okay 2.5), I got to make a show that I love with my friends. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was 13,” he said. “Now, I’m excited to go make other things that I love. Thank you to every person who worked on or watched the Carmichael show.”
“We are enormously proud of The Carmichael Show and Jerrod’s talent and vision to do a classic family sitcom that also taps into issues and relevant stories from the real world,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt and president Jennifer Salke said in a statement. “We thank and salute the cast, crew, and producers — and especially Jerrod — for three critically-acclaimed seasons.”
“The Carmichael Show was such a wonderful show that we choose to focus today not on its loss but on the three incredible seasons we had the pleasure to produce,” 20th Century Fox Television presidents Jonnie Davis and Howard Kurtzman said in a statement. “We are thankful to the brilliant Jerrod Carmichael and his talented cast, and to showrunner Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, our fantastic writers and devoted production team. It’s a rarity that a comedy series tackles the social and political issues of the day in such a clever and hilariously funny way. This show was special, and we will miss it.”
There was no tough topic or taboo that The Carmichael Show wouldn’t tackle: Each week, family members would unpack and debate such hot-button issues ranging from racism to gun control to sexual assault to transgender acceptance to Bill Cosby to Donald Trump. Wednesday’s episode dealt with the emotional fallout of a mass shooting, an installment whose airing was delayed two weeks after two real-life shootings prompted the network to pull it from its original premiere date. Carmichael publicly disagreed with the network’s decision, calling it “a disservice.”
While critics have heaped praise on the multi-camera series — its fans include All in the Family creator Norman Lear, who was a big influence on Carmichael and his show — ratings have been modest. This season’s episodes have averaged 4.3 million viewers, down from season 2’s 4.8 million, and .9 in the 18-to-49-demo Live+3. (Perhaps it also didn’t help that a full year had passed between the airing of the season 2 finale and the season 3 premiere.) Last year, negotiations to bring back the show for a third season came down to the wire, but this year, as the deadline neared to renew contracts for the actors — Carmichael, David Alan Grier, Amber Stevens West, Loretta Devine, Lil Rel Howery, and Tiffany Haddish — signs were already pointing to NBC not picking up the show.
In any case, Carmichael stands proud of the series, especially the current season batch. “I’ve never been more excited,” he told EW. “It’s not that I was lying to people for the first two seasons, but this one, I’m so proud of. I’m so happy with every single episode.”