While television has changed a lot in recent years, it’s still focused on a season that begins in the early fall and runs through the spring. Keeping fans eyeballs through the summer with new and different shows has always been a struggle, which is why the summer often features a larger number of reality series and primetime game shows. This makes a series like ABC’s Rookie Blue a bit of an outlier. The fact that it ran in for six seasons is more than an anomaly, it’s unbelievable. Unfortunately for fans, that amazing streak has come to an end as ABC has announced that they are canceling the series.
Low ratings are the culprit, according to Variety, because aren’t they always? Season 6 saw the lowest ratings in the history of the show which led ABC to make the decision to pull the plug. While most of the viewers of Blue were Americans, the show was actually produced in Canada and followed a group of Toronto cops, led by star Missy Peregrym. While she was the official “rookie” mentioned in the title, after six years, she wasn't exactly a rookie anymore. So, it was probably a good time to wrap up. While the series was a small one by primetime TV standards, it still put up great summer numbers until the end, and had enough pull to get some quality guest stars.
For what it’s worth, producer Ilana C. Frank said in a statement that the series had “come to its natural close”, which means the creative team may have seen this coming. It wouldn’t be too surprising since Season 6 was actually the second half on an extra long Season 5 that had been ordered a couple of years ago. It’s not uncommon for networks to make deals like that near the end of a show’s run as locking in things like actors' contracts for more episodes saves money. The exact same thing happened to Syfy’s Haven which just officially announced its own cancellation after completing a double season order.
Fall is the season for cancelling the stuff that aired in the summer. A number of cable series, which sees many more scripted dramas during the summer months, have seen the ax come down on them. USA canceled Graceland, while Syfy said goodbye to Dominion.
Frank has a long term production deal with eOne, the Canadian producer of Rookie Blue; so, maybe we’ll see something new from them down the line. The six seasons of success certainly shows there’s an audience for what they created.