ABC Cancels Hit Debut Comedy Series After Season 2

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

After two seasons ABC has canceled the comedy Not Dead Yet due to slipping ratings in its second season. The show, which stars Gina Rodriguez, was a breakout hit when it premiered, but it failed to live up to the studio’s hopes after that strong start. The show struggled to keep its initial audience despite having a great cast and an interesting premise. 

Not Dead Yet Is Dead

Not Dead Yet follows Nell Sarano, a journalist whose life is turned upside down as she’s made to write obituaries for the SoCal Independent and discovers she can communicate with ghosts. Her new job and ability manifest as she’s readjusting to life in America after moving to London for her fiance, who leaves her in the first episode. It is an adaptation of the book Confessions of a Fourty-Something F**k Up by Alexandra Potter. 

The cast of Not Dead Yet was strong, with some sitcom veterans involved. Gina Rodriguez is joined by Hannah Simone, Lauren Ash, Rick Glassman, Joshua Banday, Angela E. Gibbs, and Brad Garrett. The show also featured numerous guest spots from stars such as Martin Mull, Brittany Snow, Paula Pell, Ed Begly Jr., Rhea Pearlman, Rob Corddry, Chelsea Handler, and Matt Walsh. 

Audience Didn’t Stick Around

When Not Dead Yet premiered in 2023, it was celebrated as their most-watched comedy debut in over four years. However, those viewers didn’t stick around, with the show gradually losing steam over its first season and falling significantly in its viewership with Season 2, which lost over a million viewers. The show’s cancellation, while disappointing for fans, isn’t a surprise given its performance. 

Another Short-Lived Sitcom

The critical consensus on Not Dead Yet didn’t earn it any leeway, which it needed with its low viewership. The show only has a 50 percent critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and its audience score is only a bit higher at 68 percent. With slipping ratings and a distinct lack of critical acclaim, the show was unlikely to get a third season. 

While the declining viewership and poor reception made its end unsurprising, it wasn’t a certainty that Not Dead Yet would be joining shows like Star Trek Discovery in cancellation this year. Early reports on the show’s status were uncertain, with some internal decision-makers at ABC standing up for the show. However, those internal forces couldn’t fight against the external forces working against the show. 

ABC’s Returning Sitcoms

john goodman

The other notable ABC comedies have been renewed, which makes Not Dead Yet’s cancelation all the more noteworthy. The Connors, the spin-off of the Roseanne revival, will return for Season 7, concluding the series after a truncated six episodes. Abbot Elementary will also return to ABC for its fourth season. 

A Tough Time For Broadcast Networks

It’s well known that the streaming era has made it difficult for traditional network TV shows to compete, and Not Dead Yet couldn’t survive in that environment. Another platform could pick the show up for revival, a trend that has made cancellation much less final in recent years, but the lack of support for the show makes it unlikely. It’s a disappointing finish for the star-studded show, which had so much potential after it debuted to so much success in 2023.