NBC Cancels American Auto After Two Seasons

American Auto was canceled after two seasons at NBC.

By Robert Scucci | Published

American Auto has crashed and burned after its second season and has been officially canceled, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Though the series currently boasts a 100 percent critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, the audience score of 58 percent leaves a lot to be desired, and the viewership reflects the latter number in regard to overall viewership with its second season. The Justin Spritzer (Superstore) series has seen a 15 percent dip in viewers and a 30 percent drop in overall ratings among adults from 18-49 compared to its first-season run.

Though American Auto has technically been in development since 2013, Justin Spritzer put the series on the back burner after NBC rejected the original pilot, leading to the creation of Superstore, which ran for 113 episodes across six seasons. Toward the end of Superstore’s run, Spritzer stepped away from his role as showrunner after signing an overall deal with Universal Television in 2019 and shifted his focus back to developing American Auto. In hindsight, this was probably a great idea, considering that Spritzer’s experience on Superstore would translate well to yet another workplace comedy.

While Superstore followed the lives of front-line employees working at Cloud 9, a Walmart-type big-box retailer, American Auto had more of a white-collar treatment centered around a group of executives working at the fictional Detroit-based Payne Motors. Ana Gasteyer took on the lead role of Katherine Hastings, Payne Motors’ new CEO, who comes from a pharmaceutical background rather than the auto industry. A lot of the comedy from this series comes from her lack of knowledge in the automotive field and her misguided attempts to find parallels between the pharmaceutical and auto industries.

American Auto shows us the disastrous results of poor executive decision-making, like trying to cut corners to sell an entry-level vehicle at a much lower price than it needs to turn a profit (resulting in an unsafe car). Another notable moment of hilarity involved a spike in sales after extensive news coverage revealed that one of their cars was used by a serial killer to flee from his most recent crime scene before embarking on a high-speed chase on the highway. Likening the incident to the infamous OJ Simpson Ford Bronco chase that happened in 1993 (which resulted in the sale of more Broncos), marketing director Sadie Ryan (Harriet Dyer) shrugs the bad press off as good publicity.

Unfortunately for American Auto, a fictional spike in sales at a struggling car company does not translate to a spike in viewership, meaning that we’ll only be left with two seasons. However, this isn’t the end of Justin Spritzer’s relationship with NBC. Staying true to the workplace comedy formula that has given him success in the past, Spritzer will be working with long-time partner Eric Ledgin (Superstore, American Auto) on a new workplace comedy called St. Denis Medical, which will be a mockumentary set in an underfunded and understaffed hospital.

While it comes with great disappointment that American Auto will not be renewed for a third season, it’s comforting to know that Spritzer will continue to make us laugh in the coming years with a new series. Though no official release date is set for St. Denis Medical, sources say that we’ll see a series premiere sometime in early 2024.