Disney faced a challenging year in 2023 and set a record for the number of show cancellations. In fact, Disney had the worse cancelation rate across Disney+ and Hulu than any other streaming service in 2023.
Since Bob Iger’s return to Disney in November 2022, there has been a significant shift in the company’s approach and in the broader streaming business. The focus has moved from pursuing growth at all costs to emphasizing profitability. Additionally, the strikes that shut down Hollywood for months played a role, leading to the cancellation of many shows that might have been renewed in any other year.
While some cancellations seemed reasonable, others appeared abrupt and harsh. Further, some shows were not just canceled but also entirely removed from Disney+ and Hulu, rendering them extremely difficult or even impossible to watch.
The following list comprises originals created exclusively for Disney+ and Hulu.
In January, it was revealed that the Hulu and Disney+ original series, “Reboot,” was canceled after just one season.
The cancellation of “Reboot” came as quite a surprise, especially considering the vocal response from its fans, which was notable this year. This reaction isn’t shocking given that the show had an 85% critic and 75% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Steve Levitan, the co-creator of the show, along with 20th Television, attempted to find a new home for the series. Unfortunately, these efforts ultimately did not materialize.
The Mysterious Benedict Society
In January, it was announced that the Disney+ Original Series “The Mysterious Benedict Society” had been canceled and would not be returning for a third season.
The second season appeared favorable with audiences with 87% approval rating on rotten tomatoes. However, unfortunately, the second season didn’t seem to generate the buzz or viewership as the first season.
As part of its ongoing cost-cutting strategy, Disney went a step further and removed “The Mysterious Benedict Society” from Disney+ worldwide as of May 27.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers
In February, Disney+ canceled the Original series “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers” after two seasons.
Despite their best efforts, the second season notably suffered due to Emilio Estevez’s decision not to return and reprise his role as Gordon Bombay.
Additionally, “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers” was not only canceled, but Disney also removed it from Disney+ worldwide as of May 27.
In February, Disney+ canceled the Original series “Big Shot” after two seasons. The series first premiered on Disney+ in April 2021 and was renewed for a second season which released in October 2022.
Additionally, Disney also removed Big Shot from Disney+ worldwide as of May 27 due to cost-cutting.
In April, it was revealed that Lucasfilm’s Disney+ original series “Willow” would not be returning for a second season. The series made its debut on the streaming platform in November 2022 and concluded its run in January 2023.
When the series debuted on Disney+, it was hit with controversy and ultimately poor viewership that never once make the Nielsen streaming top ten charts.
Willow also operated with an outrageous budget, meaning it needed to achieve spectacular viewership numbers to justify a second season.
Disney unfortunately went one step further and removed Willow from Disney+ worldwide as of May 27.
National Treasure: Edge of History
In April, it was announced that the Disney+ original series “National Treasure: Edge of History” would not be returning for a second season and is canceled.
The show did not fare well with critics, receiving a score of 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it achieved a slightly better audience score of 49%.
The series premiered on the streaming platform in December 2022 and concluded its run in February 2023.
In July, “Up Here,” produced by 20th Television, was canceled after its first season and will not be returning for a second season.
Initially launched on Hulu earlier this year, it was also distributed as a Star Original on Star+ for Latin American viewers and on Disney+ for global audiences.
Despite the series’ mixed reception and a modest 56% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes at its debut, we found it enjoyable. You can check out our perspective in our detailed review linked here.
Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.
In August, “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.” was canceled at Disney+ after 2 seasons. The second season was released on Disney+ on March 31, 2023.
This show clearly had a dedicated audience, evidenced by the numerous comments on our article, and received generally positive reviews. However, it seems it did not attract a sufficiently large viewership to warrant the continuation of the series.
How I Met Your Father
In September, it was announced that “How I Met Your Father,” the Hilary Duff-led spinoff of “How I Met Your Mother,” has been canceled after two seasons.
The series, which first premiered in January 2022, is available for streaming on Hulu and internationally on Disney+. The series had a total of 30 episodes.
The first season of “How I Met Your Father” initially featured a 10-episode run, while the second season received an uncommonly generous order of 20 additional episodes—a rarity for television series in the streaming age.
The Muppets Mayhem
In November, Disney+ Original series “The Muppets Mayhem” starring Lilly Singh, Tahj Mowry, Saara Chaudry and The Electric Mayhem Band was canceled after one season.
“The Muppets Mayhem” received incredibly strong reviews, boasting an 86% rating from critics and a 94% rating from audiences, making it probably the best-reviewed show on this list. However, we can only assume that the show didn’t attract enough viewership to justify a second season.
The Spiderwick Chronicles
“The Spiderwick Chronicles” was canceled by Disney+ before it even premiered.
This decision is surprising, especially since the eight-episode series, produced by Paramount Television Studios and 20th Television, had already been completed, with filming wrapping up in Vancouver earlier this year.
Fortunately, the US rights to the series were sold to Roku, and it is set to debut in early 2024.
Despite initially greenlighting the Disney+ Original U.K. series “Nautilus,” inspired by Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea,” Disney reversed its decision in August, choosing not to move forward with the series. This decision was made as part of cost-cutting measures.
However, AMC Networks acquired the rights to the series and will air and stream it on AMC+ in the US and Canada sometime in 2024.
American Born Chinese
“American Born Chinese” was officially canceled in 2024, but we assume the decision was made in 2023. Therefore, it will not be included in the 2023 list. However, the cancellation occurred just days after the publication of this article on January 5, 2024.
Hulu canceled “The Great” after three seasons in August. Although the series wasn’t released internationally on Disney+ and isn’t a production of Disney’s TV studios, it wasn’t included in the main list above. However, its cancellation is certainly another addition to the roster of shows canceled in 2023.
ABC, Freeform, Disney Channel & FX
Disney also canceled numerous shows from Disney Channel, ABC, Freeform, FX, and others that are available on Disney+ and Hulu. These shows weren’t created specifically for Disney+ or Hulu, although some are exclusive to Disney+ in international markets.
Which show’s cancellation this year disappointed you the most? Let us know in the comments below!
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