Paramount Plus just canceled this show with a 91% audience rating

Paramount Plus
(Image credit: Paramount Plus)

There has recently been a wave of TV show cancelations with the likes of Netflix and HBO Max axing well-received shows. But, Paramount Plus just confirmed what is arguably one of the most unexpected cancelations of the year so far. 

Variety reports that Why Women Kill has been canceled by Paramount Plus after two seasons, with a statement released by the streamer saying, “Paramount Plus has made the difficult decision not to move forward with Season 3 of Why Women Kill. We would like to thank our partners at CBS Studios and Imagine Television Studios, the amazing creator and showrunner Marc Cherry and the incredible writers, cast and crew for two memorable seasons.”

What makes this cancelation such a surprise is that the dark comedy-drama series had actually been renewed for a third season back in December 2021. It would seem that over the past seven months the situation changed because Paramount Plus is no longer moving forward with the show. This is despite its strong reviews from both critics and viewers alike.  

What was Why Women Kill about?  

Why Women Kill was a drama series with a sprinkling of dark humor. As the name implies, the series chronicles events that ultimately lead to deaths caused by women. The show was an anthology series, with its two seasons featuring entirely different casts and storylines that aren't narratively linked. 

The first season is set across three different time periods: 1963, 1984 and 2019. It follows three women who all live in the same Pasadena mansion, and each has to deal with infidelity in their marriage. Over the course of the season, events spiral out of control until each storyline ends with a death. The season one cast included Ginnifer Goodwin, Lucy Liu, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, and Alexandra Daddario.

Season two switches things up and is set solely in 1949. It stars Allison Tolman as a bored housewife desperate to join the local gardening club, by any means necessary. The show’s sophomore season also featured Lana Parrilla, B.K. Cannon, Jordane Christie, Matthew Daddario, Veronica Falcón and Nick Frost.

What did the critics say about Why Women Kill? 

The first season of Why Women Kill scored an unspectacular but still solid 67% on Rotten Tomatoes. Gwen Ihant of AV Club praised the show for growing into itself as the season progressed: “As the weeks went on, I found Why Women Kill even more suspenseful, moving, and thoroughly enjoyable.”

The Washington Post’s Hawk Stuever was less impressed, saying: “The women in the show feel sketched rather than fully drawn. Preoccupied with why they kill, the show forgets to stop and show us who they are.”

However, the show’s second season enjoyed a far more positive critical reception scoring a pretty impressive 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. Praise was dished out for Tolman’s performance in particular as well as the more focused storyline. Several critics appreciated the multiple timelines of season one being scrapped in favor of a single setting in season two. 

While critics took a little while to warm to Why Women Kill, viewers appear to have been enamored with the show pretty much from day one. The Paramount Plus series scored a combined 91% audience rating, which is pretty impressive. 

Analysis: A blow to Paramount Plus 

One of our biggest issues with Paramount Plus since launch has been its lack of original content, so seeing the streamer axe one of its most well-received series is definitely disappointing. 

The reason for this cancelation isn’t immediately obvious. Presumably, the show wasn’t bringing in enough new subscribers, but a third season was initially commissioned so it can’t have been a total wash. 

Perhaps behind-the-scenes Why Women Kill season 3 wasn’t shaping up particularly well, and Paramount Plus executives decided that pulling the plug was the best course of action. But for now, all we can do is speculate, and hope the reason for this unexpected decision becomes clearer in time. 

At least subscribers still have South Park: The Streaming Wars Part 2 to look forward to. The second part of this animated special is set to hit the service on July 13. However, Paramount Plus is going to need more than just South Park if it wants to crack our best streaming services ranking (even if you can save on monthly fees with our Paramount Plus coupon codes).

Next: We've got the 7 best new movies to stream this week on Netflix, Hulu and Prime Video. In other streaming news, Amazon just canceled this Prime show after a single season, and this Prime show just beat The Boys to No. 1

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.