Wait, Could Magnum P.I. Return After CBS' Cancellation?

The month of May is always one of the dreariest when it comes to network television, since the annual network upfront presentations to advertisers necessarily indicate swaths of cancellations. 2022 was no different, as tons of shows were put to pasture, with CBS’ Magnum P.I. as arguably the most surprising entry in that bunch. And now an equally surprising bit of news has cropped up, as it appears there’s a minor chance for Magnum P.I. to return for a potential Season 5. But no promises just yet.

While it doesn’t appear as if CBS proper is leaning into any decisions to bring Magnum P.I. back to its primetime schedule anytime soon — especially considering its Fall 2022 schedule is already penciled in — there’s a chance Jay Hernandez’s ex-SEAL could return to the small screen in some capacity. According to TVLine and its sources, the show’s production studio Universal TV is attempting to shop the drama around in an attempt to find another TV network or streaming platform to make an offer for at least one new season. 

Now, that’s where the news begins and ends, so it’s not exactly the strongest lifeline for anyone to hold onto, but it’s a lifeline all the same. And considering Magnum P.I. wasn’t having any overarching problems when it came to viewership stats and demo ratings (at least nothing more troublesome than most CBS dramas), there seemingly aren’t a ton of reasons why others wouldn’t jump at the chance to be the new home for the rebooted drama.

To that end, the big reason why Magnum P.I.’s cancellation was so surprising is that it was still pulling in average weekly audiences (with delayed viewing tallied) of around 7.4 million viewers. Though its 0.7 demo rating isn’t nearly as impressive, very few scripted shows outside of CBS can boast average viewerships as high as 7.4 million people. At least when it comes to platforms with openly reported data. So from purely an audience perspective, it would be a no-brainer for another network to step up and try to cash in on that older-demo popularity. 

Even if the rights issues were a thing, it seems like Magnum P.I. could get flipped around even within the ViacomCBS family. Now that Paramount Network has completely flipped its past plan to become a Movies-centric outlet, with Yellowstone’s massive popularity convincing execs to bring more scripted shows in, perhaps that could be a suitable new home for the Hawaii-set crime drama. This could even be a draw for Paramount+ subscriptions, for that matter, since Magnum P.I. could serve as the somewhat rare non-Taylor Sheridan series for the streaming service. 

All that said, CBS obviously has some kind of reason to cancel the show, and while the network’s execs haven’t been completely forthcoming with a clear answer, it does seem to be a combination of expensive licensing fees, mixed with the high cost of producing an entire season within Hawaii. If it is indeed all about money issues, that could obviously complicate the show’s already minor chances of getting swooped up. But then I’d imagine just about every other network on TV has looser purse-strings than CBS.

In his farewell message to fans following the cancellation, Jay Hernandez DID say “Until next time,” which obviously isn’t a true sign of anything, but is at least a message of hope for fans to cling to. Here’s hoping something happens soon! 

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.