One season after most of its main cast departed the show, Once Upon a Time has finally been canceled. The show, which once did big ratings numbers for ABC, has suffered from burnout and the cast changes, and is now in the same underachieving ratings territory as Agents of SHIELD. According to a report from Entertainment Weekly, the show won’t return for an eighth season.
ABC President Channing Dungey released a statement on the occasion of the mercy-cancellation, saying, “When we first heard Adam and Eddy’s pitch for Once Upon a Time, we knew it was something incredibly special. For seven years, they have captivated us with their creativity and passion while reimagining some of our most beloved Disney fairytales, creating an undeniable global hit. Saying goodbye will be bittersweet, but Once Upon a Time will forever be part of the ABC legacy and we can’t wait for fans to join us in this epic final chapter.”
ABC Studios president Patrick Moran added, “Once Upon a Time has been an amazing journey for all of us at ABC Studios and for fans around the world. We’re so proud and appreciative of the hard work and creative talent that Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz and their cast and crew brought to this show for seven magical seasons.”
Series creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis gave an interview to EW, where they tried to look on the bright side.
“Listen, we love this show, we were happy to continue going on, but collectively they felt that, after seven years and 156 episodes, it was time,” said Kitsis. “For us, we’re like, ‘It’s a hell of a run.’ We never thought we’d get to seven episodes, let alone seven years.”
“It wasn’t like it was a shocking phone call,” admitted Horowitz. “We’ve had conversations for a while about what this year would be, and whether it would go on or not, and if this could be the end, so we’ve been prepared for this for a while. The network has been incredible partners with us the whole way, as has the studio. Ultimately, it’s also a business, so it becomes about, ‘Is it financially viable to keep going forward?’ so there’s all that kind of stuff, stuff that we generally don’t deal with because we’re just focused mostly on the creative. We reached that point where it’s like, ‘Okay, now it’s time to wrap it up. This has been an amazing 156 episode-run, and let’s all be proud of what we’ve done and try to wrap it up.'”
“It’s time to declare victory and go home,” added Kitsis.
That’s one way to look at it. To their credit, the pair promised not to end the show on a cliffhanger, so fans can tune into the remainder of Season 7 for some closure. They also promised that at least some cast members from the first six seasons will return for the finale.