TV fans furious as ABC swings untimely axe on new series

TV fans are lamenting the loss of a popular new series that’s been cancelled before its time.

In January, US network ABC commissioned a pilot to a spin-off to hit series The Good Doctor, starring Freddie Highmore.

The pilot episode for the series, titled The Good Lawyer, aired in March as part of The Good Doctor’s sixth season, and won rave reviews from fans convinced the network had a hit on their hands.

Sadly, eight months on, and one day after the conclusion of the actor’s strike, ABC has announced it has axed the show, which has prompted outcry from fans.

The series was set to star Felicity Huffman as “highly regarded attorney” Janet Stewart, and McMann, whose character Joni DeGroot was introduced in the backdoor pilot. It would have seen the pair taking on Highmore’s Good Doctor character, Dr Shaun Murphy, as a client.

Following the announcement that ABC had cancelled plans to make the show, fans stepped in to point out this could be a huge error considering the excitement the pilot episode had generated for the project. One fan said the episode showed “huge potential”.

“ABC needs to rethink passing on The Good Lawyer right now,” one viewer wrote, with another adding: “My heart breaks for the potential this could have had.”

Many fans said the decision “sucks”, stating: “It was inevitable because of the strike, but the back door pilot was good as heck.

Another fan wrote: “This seemed like it was going to be a good show, I’m sad.”

The Good Doctor has become one of ABC’s biggest hits of the last 10 years, pulling in solid ratings over the course of its six seasons.

Kennedy McMann and Felicity Huffman in ‘The Good Lawyer’ pilot (ABC)
Kennedy McMann and Felicity Huffman in ‘The Good Lawyer’ pilot (ABC)

A seventh season has been commissioned, but will be delayed due to the Hollywood writers’ and actor’s strikes, which have now concluded.

After 118 days of strike action, the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) reached a tentative agreement with Hollywood studios after protesting for new contract guidelines related to royalties and the use of AI.

SAG-AFTRA told The Independent in a statement: “The strike officially ends at 12.01am on Thursday, 9 November. The tentative deal will go to the SAG-AFTRA National Board on Friday, 10 November, 2023, for review and consideration. Further details will be released following that meeting.”

The deal is being praised as a landmark win for actors, with SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher thanking actors “for hanging in and holding out for this historic deal”.

Films that were midway through production will now resume, with Beetlejuice, Deadpool, Gladiator and Venom sequels reportedly first on the agenda.