Taye Diggs Just Quit His Best Series

Taye Diggs walked away from The CW's All-American after five successful seasons as one of the leads.

By Sean Thiessen | Published

Chicago actor Taye Diggs was written off The CW’s All American in the show’s latest episode, Time. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Diggs’ character, Billy Baker, was killed off the show while heroically returning to save a missing football player from the wreckage of a bus crash. The tragic death of Diggs’ character marks the end of the actor’s time on one of The CW’s most acclaimed shows.

All American follows a high school football player from South Central LA who is recruited by Taye Diggs’ character to play for a Beverly Hills high school. The move forces two separate worlds together as parties on both sides struggle to adapt to new dynamics on and off the field. Diggs’ final episode aired February 13, 2023, midway through the show’s fifth season.

All American showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll said that working with Taye Diggs over the past five seasons was an honor. She said the beauty of Diggs’ Billy Baker was his combination of heroism and flaws, which created the dimensions that made the character human. “We wish Taye the very best in this next chapter of his life,” Carroll added, “and he remains a beloved member of the All American family, so you haven’t seen the last of Billy Baker.”

All American has already been renewed for a sixth season at The CW. Though Carroll’s statement indicates Taye Diggs will no longer appear regularly on the show, she left the door open for the actor to reprise his character in special appearances, such as flashbacks. His absence on the show will surely be felt by audiences, but even more by the show’s characters.

Daniel Ezra leads the series as Spencer James, the South Central fish out of water. Over the course of the show, Coach Billy Baker became a father figure for Spencer. The emotional void left by Taye Diggs’ character will surely ignite new drama and threaten the progress the show’s young characters have made over the years.

The CW was recently acquired by Nexstar, and the new management’s strategy has been to slash the number of shows on the network. All American, a product of Warner Bros. TV, remains one of the few survivors under the new regime. CBS Studios and Warner Bros. TV, which still own small stakes in The CW, have opted to shift their original content to in-house streaming services, Paramount+ and HBO Max.

Taye Diggs in All-American

The future of All American is intact for now, but the next chapter for Taye Diggs is largely a mystery. In an interview with TV Line, Diggs said his decision to leave the show had been brewing since the middle of season four. “I was having a great time,” Diggs said. “It was just a feeling that I got [that I was ready to leave], and I just honored that feeling.”

Feeling the character had served his purpose, the show’s writers respected Taye Diggs’ choice by giving his character a powerful sendoff that will change the fabric of the show. “No characters I’ve played have ever been dealt with in that fashion,” he said. “I was honored.”

The next stop for Taye Diggs will be the romance film While You Were Dancing. Diggs is the only cast member currently attached to the project. Diggs remains close to his All-American showrunner, so whether his TV return comes as a special appearance on All American or an appearance on a new show, the actor’s open schedule permits him to board new projects in the near future.