In a surprising turnaround, CBS has announced that it has reversed its decision to cancel its Shemar Moore (Malcolm Winters) helmed primetime series, S.W.A.T. The move comes just days after Moore and fans raged against the cancellation on social media.
“We have listened to our viewers and their outpouring of passion for S.W.A.T’ and we have reached an agreement to renew it for a final season of 13 episodes to air during the 2023-2024 broadcast year,” CBS Entertainment president Amy Reisenbach and Sony Pictures Television Studios president Katherine Pope said in a joint statement. “S.W.A.T. has aired for six seasons on CBS and garnered a devoted following. We are pleased that we found a way to bring it back and give closure to the show’s storylines and characters, which audiences deserve. Once again, we appreciate the talents and efforts of the cast, writers, producers and crew and everyone who has contributed to the success of S.W.A.T. We look forward to its return next season.”
Last week, CBS announced that the series would end after six seasons. The series has been a strong performer for CBS, averaging 6.8 million total viewers according to Nielsen's Live + 7 data. That's up about a half-million viewers over last year.
"For six seasons, the amazing talents of the S.W.A.T. cast led by Shemar Moore, the writers, producers and crew guided by Executive Producers Shawn Ryan, Andy Dettman and Aaron Rahsaan Thomas brought us compelling, action packed episodes that also addressed important social issues and contributed to the success of our primetime line up," Amy Reisenbach, president of CBS Entertainment, said in a statement. "We sincerely thank them for their incredible work and passion and also thank our dedicated fans who tuned in every week."
That thank you message didn't sit well with Moore, who took to social media to blast the decision to cancel S.W.A.T. as "a lot of politics."
In an Instagram video, Shemar Moore told fans, "I got sunglasses on 'cause I'm a little bit sad. I'm a lot of bit sad. We got canceled... S.W.A.T. got canceled. It makes no sense. Look up the articles, read the articles. We are the best [show] at Friday night at 8 for CBS. The last two years, we have been killing it, us and [Fire Country] that comes on right after us, and respect to those brothers and sisters. We've done nothing wrong. We did everything that was asked for."
The decisions behind cancellations are a lot more complicated than they were just a decade ago when low ratings were the main reason for taking a show off the air. The reason for initially axing S.W.A.T. was reportedly brought on by CBS' desire to own most, if not all, of its primetime programming outright. S.W.A.T., like The Young and the Restless, is a co-production between CBS and Sony Pictures Television. In short, profits are split between the two companies. In the current landscape where more people are turning to streaming services for their television-watching needs, owning a show outright means being able to keep all of the profits.
"I will get in a lot of trouble with CBS because I'm calling them out 'cause they've been wonderful to me for 26 out of my 29-year career," Moore continued. "But to abruptly get told that you're canceled when you led us to believe last week and the week before that ... that we would have some semblance of a season 7 to at least say goodbye, if not continue, and to abruptly be told you're done...now there's a lot of politics, a lot of things called licensing, a lot of you won't understand what that means...it's all about money, y'all."
Moore expressed his hope that S.W.A.T. will somehow find a way to live on. The series has the distinction, according to the former Y&R star, as having "the only African American male lead on network TV."
"CBS is either gonna wake up and realize they made a mistake. Sony is gonna do their math and realize that this is not the right move. I hope we can have a kumbaya and come back together and continue this show because it's a good time for families across the world," Moore said.
Moore wished "the writers, the producers, the caterers, the wardrobe, the sound mixers, the teamsters, [and] the construction crew" good luck in finding new jobs.
S.W.A.T. is based on the series of the same name created by Robert Hamner that ran on ABC for one season from 1975 to 1976. It was also turned into a 2003 film.
Moore's television career kicked off in 1994 when he joined the cast of The Young and the Restless. His work as Malcolm earned him a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2000. Moore left Y&R in 2005 to focus on a film and primetime television career. He has appeared in CBS primetime since that time, first on Criminal Minds and, since 2017, on S.W.A.T..
The S.W.A.T. sixth season finale will air on Friday, May 19.
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