Showtime has shut down its star-studded anthology series The First Lady.
As first reported by Deadline (opens in new tab), the Paramount subsidiary network chose not to renew the political drama for a second season. The move comes just three months after The First Lady debuted on Showtime Anytime and Paramount Plus.
Set in the East Wing of the White House, the 10-episode series centers on the lives and influence of three prominent first ladies of the United States: Eleanor Roosevelt (Gillian Anderson), Betty Ford (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Michelle Obama (Viola Davis). ).
“Showtime can confirm that the anthology series The First Lady will not be moving forward with another season,” a Showtime spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline.
“We would like to applaud the artistry and commitment of our showrunner Cathy Schulman, director Susanne Bier, their fellow executive producers, our incredible cast – led by executive producers Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson – and our studio partner Lionsgate for their dedication to work on telling the unique stories of three remarkable leaders.”
Despite receiving plaudits for its costumes, set design, and the performances of its three leads, The First Lady suffered a battery of critics upon release, with many taking aim at the show’s seemingly random narrative structure and reluctance to offer any new insight into its central characters. .
At the time of writing, The First Lady boasts a minimum score of 41% from critics in rotten tomatoes (opens in new tab). Its viewership score is not much better at just 58%, although its IMDB rating (opens in new tab) is at a slightly more respectable 6.8/10.
an expensive cancellation
Given the less-than-warm reception from critics and audiences, it’s no surprise to see Showtime (read: Paramount) call The First Lady after just one season. Still, the show’s high production costs – as Anderson, Pfeiffer and Davis don’t come cheap – and positioning as a major launch title for Paramount Plus in the UK is sure to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of studio executives.
Additionally, The First Lady’s cancellation hurts Paramount Plus’ appeal globally. As above, the series, being a Showtime title, is automatically bundled into the UK version of the growing streamer (as Showtime Anytime is not available in the UK), although US subscribers can add the Showtime library – which includes Billions , Yellowjackets and Dexter – in their existing Paramount Plus packages for a small fee.
Of course, the first and only season of The First Lady will remain available to watch, but it’s disappointing that those who enjoyed the star-studded series won’t be treated to a follow-up season in the future.
Instead, Paramount will likely double down on its Halo TV series and numerous Star Trek properties – not to mention its stellar movie library – in an attempt to attract and retain Paramount Plus subscribers.
A major key to the platform’s future success could also come in the form of Top Gun: Maverick, which remains exclusive to theaters but looks set to hit Paramount Plus before the year is out. For more details on that, check out our report on when we think Top Gun: Maverick might hit streaming services.