HBO Max is giving Netflix a run for its money, with several shows seemingly at risk of cancellation. The latest show to end up on the chopping block comes from former talk show host Ellen DeGeneres — marking her second cancellation of the year.
According to Deadline (opens in new tab), HBO Max is cancelling Little Ellen — an animated series featuring the seven-year old Ellen DeGeneres at school. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s likely because the show is aimed at preschool kids. However it seems not even going the family-friendly route could keep some sort of Ellen show on TV screens.
Little Ellen premiered in September last year, with a second season following this March. A third season has been completed, and was due to hit HBO Max in June — only for it to be delayed; it remains unreleased at the time of writing. Each season comprised 10 episodes of 11 minutes each, which would explain how they were able to be released quite so quickly.
It's not entirely surprising that HBO Max shows are being canceled. The streamer is under new management following Discovery’s merger with Warner Bros, and there have been rumors that a lot of scripted programming could be axed as a result. But so far, not many cancellations have actually been confirmed.
The upcoming Batgirl movie is the most notable example, with the sequel to Scooby Doo origin story Scoob! being another. Deadline also reported that reality series The Big D was canceled (opens in new tab) two weeks ahead of its premiere, and — like Batgirl — this decision was reportedly for tax reasons. It’s not entirely clear how Little Ellen, and its unreleased third season, factors into this.
We also saw a wave of shows canceled earlier this year, in what now seems like a precursor to the merger: Gentleman Jack, Raised by Wolves, and the JJ Abrams-led Demimonde were all ditched. Another Warners property, the CW, also announced end dates for all but one of its DC superhero shows. As a result, after The Flash’s ninth season airs next year, the only show on the network will be Superman and Lois.
A number of shows are seemingly safe, including John Cena’s Peacemaker, Dune spin-off Sisterhood, and the animated Harley Quinn series. However, several more remain in limbo.
DeGeneres is, of course, no stranger to cancellations. Back in January, NBC announced that it would be ending the Ellen show after 19 seasons, with the final episode airing on May 26. The cancelation news came less than a year after several allegations of a toxic work environment on the show. However, DeGeneres told the Today Show (opens in new tab) that this didn’t affect the decision to end the show — and that she had "no idea" there were problems behind the scenes until reading about it.
The loss of Little Ellen is unlikely to upset too many people; it’s a show for pre-schooolers, rather than some high-art programming with unresolved cliffhangers. Plus, young kids are not the most difficult audience to entertain, and likely won’t notice if they watch the same episodes multiple times.
But if a show for little kids, with a third season waiting in the wings, isn’t immune from being canceled, then we have to wonder what else might be at risk of ending prematurely.
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