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Why was Tommy canceled by CBS after just one season?

Tommy is one of a group of freshman shows canceled by CBS. Why did this series face the chopping board compared to so many others on the network?

We are at that point in the year when we find out some of our favorite shows will be canceled. Sadly, Tommy has become one of the casualties at CBS. It won’t get a second season, and naturally, many fans want to know why.

I get why a lot of people are angry about this decision. We had a lesbian in the lead, a story point that wasn’t used in the promotion of the series. The main focus in the initial promotion was all about how she was the first female chief of police in LA.

So, why did CBS choose to cancel the show? I don’t think this was anything personal. It was all business.

The show just didn’t perform well

Sadly, Tommy was just one of those shows that didn’t perform well. Now, it could be the timeslot. Apart from Young Sheldon and Mom, CBS has struggled to succeed on Thursday nights for some time. SWAT struggled in the 10 p.m. timeslot for two years and Evil didn’t have the greatest success (although was renewed). Tommy continued to see trouble in that hour.

At first, things seemed to go well. While the show was one of the lowest-rated on the network, the live ratings were climbing week on week, according to TV Series Finale. Then lockdown happened. For many shows, this meant a jump in the ratings and a stronger performance live. For Tommy, it meant a drop in the ratings. As the show got closer to its finale, the ratings continued to drop. This would have been a red flag for CBS.

To grant a second season, the networks need to know their shows will be watched. If ratings drop each and every week, there’s the opinion that people won’t tune in for the second season. Instead, it’s better to risk a new show than to take on a dropping audience for a show’s sophomore year. From a business point of view, it’s safer to do this with a freshman show than an established show, especially right now.

In fact, the renewal and cancellation decisions by CBS are telling. Only Man With a Plan was the established show canceled on May 6, according to Deadline. Previously, Criminal Minds, Hawaii Five-0, and Madam Secretary ended, while God Friended Me has been the only other cancellation. With pilots unable to film, CBS probably doesn’t want to take a risk with too many established shows and canceling freshman shows is the lower risk.

Could another network pick it up?

Will someone else pick up Tommy? Could Netflix or Hulu step in to save the day? Considering the series is a CBS show, it’s unlikely. Maybe it could have moved to PopTV or even CBS All Access, but it looks like CBS just doesn’t have the faith in it. I don’t hear that it’s being shopped around, so I do think it’s one and done for the female-led cop drama.

What did you think of Tommy? Were you surprised by the cancellation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Tommy is available to stream on CBS All Access.