The Rookie: Feds Creator Says Why Show Got Canceled Is Not What People Have Been Speculating

The Rookie: Feds Creator Says Why Show Got Canceled Is Not What People Have Been Speculating

2023 was filled with some truly disappointing TV cancellations, and some cut a bit deeper than others. Many appeared to be particularly taken aback when ABC canceled The Rookie: Feds last fall after only a single season on the air. At the time the news was reported, it was suggested that the move was a consequence of the dual SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. However, it seems that may not have actually been the case entirely. The series’ producer recently shared some thoughts on the drama’s demise, explaining why it didn’t exactly happen for the reasons that people have been speculating. 

Series co-creator and EP Alexi Hawley addressed the show’s fate while talking with members of the press for the Television Critics Tour. During the panel for The Rookie, he expressed disappointment over how the Feds’ journey panned out. The comments the industry veteran shared suggest that he’s not entirely sure he can pinpoint a single, exact cause for the cancellation. He did, however, mention another aspect of the entertainment business as a contributing factor:

I think the honest answer is I’m not sure, nor do I think the industry knows what is happening right now. The strike is still fairly close in our rear view mirror. Consolidation is happening across the industry. ABC has been nothing but supportive about The Rookie. Again, The Rookie: Feds was an unfortunate casualty, more of a casualty of the whole process.

As the producer mentioned, there’s a “bigger conversation” at play here that doesn’t completely refer to the strikes. It would appear that it more so had to do with the shifting economic dynamics within the industry in general. As entertainment companies seek to allocate their resources to keep up with the changing landscape (which now includes streaming), they’re being a lot more shrewd. With that in mind, the process of consolidating assets as a way of trimming down productions has become quite common. The Feds boss (via Deadline) continued:

A lot had to do with the forces that led to strike … the consolidation of the industry, the economic impact of the streaming wars have had on different companies. I do feel it was not a creative decision. It was a business decision. I can’t argue with that. I’m not running anything. It was a treat for us. We love that show … it’s all I can really say.

The Rookie: Feds centered around newly installed FBI special agent Simone Clark – played by Niecy Nash-Betts, who originated the role on the procedural’s parent show via a backdoor pilot. As a member of the SSA Garza's Special Investigative Unit, Clark and her colleagues took on dangerous and exciting cases. Joining Nash-Betts as part of the Feds cast were James Lesure, Kevin Zegers, Britt Robertson, Felix Solis and Frankie Faison. 

After the 22-episode season concluded, there was much concern regarding the show’s fate. Niecy Nash-Betts opened up around June 2023, at which point she admitted she was in the dark but felt good about the series’ chances of survival. It was ultimately confirmed in November that the program had officially received the ax. Nash-Betts had a good attitude about the situation, though fans took to social media, at the time, and voiced their frustrations.

It’s honestly still disappointing that the show’s run is already done, considering it was solid and seemed to amass a solid fanbase. Then again, this is a tricky business, in which the dynamics can change rapidly. So much so that the creatives behind a show may not even be able to fully articulate why their show is no longer on the air.

Fans of the franchise can still catch The Rookie, which airs new episodes on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC as part of the 2024 TV schedule. Episodes are also available to stream next day with a Hulu subscription.