Closure. Many of us want it. Sometimes we want it as much, or perhaps more, than an opening. Being denied it can trugger emotional reactions that elicit degrees of passion rarely evoked by other passages of time or life. In my case, I have cried literally for years almost nightly in the pious hope that one particularly painful event in my life would have it. In some others I am aware of, sometimes people might be willing to break several laws in their own unresolved quest. I dare say I’m a lot more aware of the importance of closure than I was at one time.
If one takes the impassioned social media postings of Shemar Moore regarding the surprising and apparently abrupt decision on CBS’ part to cancel the show’s the has starred in, S.W.A.T., at face value, it was that denial of closure–wrapping up the story arcs, character development and plot lines established over the series’ first six seasons, that motivated him to take what he saw was a calculated risk in calling CBS out on their decision. Moore cited both the show’s performance and claims of superior diversity versus many other CBS shows as the fuel for his fire, which stirred the emotions of the show (and his) passion base this weekend.
Which is why yesterday afternoon’s announcement that CBS was reversing its decision and will indeed pick up S.W.A.T. for a seventh and concluding season was a rare bit of good news in a landscape dotted with frustration and ever-deepening fissures in the WGA strike, a battle that is picking up increasing support and steam from sister unions. In the midst of all of that, this was what THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER’s Rick Porter was able to trumpet:
Three days after announcing SWAT would end with its sixth season, which wraps on May 19, the network on Monday picked up a final season. The series, a co-production between Sony Pictures TV and CBS Studios, will now get a seventh and final season on CBS. It will run for 13 episodes. The cancellation on Friday stirred outcry among the show’s viewers and star Shemar Moore, who called the move “a fucking mistake” in an Instagram video over the weekend,
“We have listened to our viewers and their outpouring of passion for SWAT and we have reached an agreement to renew it for a final season of 13 episodes to air during the 2023-2024 broadcast year,” CBS Entertainment president Amy Reisenbach and Sony Pictures TV Studios president Katherine Pope said in a joint statement. “SWAT has aired for six seasons on CBS and garnered a devoted following. We are pleased that we found a way to bring it back and give closure to the show’s storylines and characters, which audiences deserve.”
Co-creator Shawn Ryan took a deserved victory lap via Twitter by evoking the memory of a prematurely reported demise from 75 years from the Chicago Tribune, essentially putting S.W.A.T. in the same category with Harry Truman, another good performer who deserved a pickup.
Well those are sweet sentiments, and the resulting pickup couldn’t bave happened to better people. Except the announcement that CBS quickly followed up with shortly after S.W.A.T.’s pickup was announced revealed a more plausible reason besides grassroots protest that helped to sway Reisenbach, let alone strengthen Pope’s argument on behalf of them, per DEADLINE’s Nellie Andreeva:
The decision comes after CBS today reversed its Friday decision to cancel S.W.A.T., renewing the veteran drama for a 13-episode seventh and final season,
It also follows lengthy renewal negotiations between the network and East New York‘s lead studio, Warner Bros. Television. In addition to the inevitable squabbles over budget, there was an additional business issue that complicated talks. As Deadline reported, it had to do with additional streaming rights CBS had requested that go beyond the now-standard stacking, which allows networks to stream current season of their series on their digital platforms.
And, yes, on top of that, earlier Monday preliminary national ratings for a heavily promoted episode of EAST NEW YORK came out, with nary a statisical blip. Indeed, if one looks at the show’s season trajectory, while the show started out as a decent performer, post-Super Bowl there was a precipitous decline in adult 18-49 audience, and never truly showed any signs of recovery since February: