Why was Girlfriends cancelled?

Girlfriends was abruptly cancelled in 2008, allegedly due to the high costs of production, especially considering that this was around the 2007 to 2008 Hollywood Writers strike.

Overview

Girlfriends is now considered a Black sitcom classic of the 2000s, after it debuted in 2000 and ended after eight seasons in 2008.

The sitcom being cancelled was therefore due to the high cost of producing the show, especially during the contentious times after the Hollywood Writers strike.

What was Girlfriends about?

Girlfriends was a sitcom about the lives of four uniquely different but Black friends, Toni, Maya, Lynn, and Joan, and their lived experiences as Black women. Following its ending, the cultural impact of the show in showcasing a completely Black, female lead cast was celebrated as the entire series became available on Netflix.

Why was Girlfriends cancelled?

In 2008, The CW, which was the network that aired the show, announced the abrupt end of the show by in part stating, “This was a very difficult decision for us and was based solely on the considerable cost to license each episode in an extremely unusual business environment.”

The reference of an “extremely unusual business environment” was in reference to the Hollywood Writers strike of 2007 and 2008, which at the time, threatened to halt production on major productions in the industry.

What was the Hollywood Writers strike about?

The Hollywood Writers strike started in November 2007 and ended in February 2008. Around this time, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) members stopped working after the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) stalled negotiations on the percentage needed to be given to writers over DVD and online revenues generated by production companies.

Was the strike the only reason for Girlfriends’ cancellation? 

Ahead of the end of Girlfriends, Jill Marie Jones who played Toni, left the show. In-fighting was initially believed as the reason for her departure. Her departure was suggested as a sign of behind-the-scenes drama which fuelled the end. However, the original cast has since rubbished those allegations.

What was the impact of Girlfriends?

In the early 2000s and 1990s, the consensus was that Black, female leads cannot carry a story. However, Girlfriends destabilised those beliefs and stands as one of the prime examples from that time of how this narrative was and still remains baseless, considering the topicality and relevance the show still holds to date.

Conclusion

Girlfriends was one of the few sitcoms that showcased the unsung, monumental Black experience through a television series of the 2000s, as it shared the story of four female friends navigating life in the 2000s.

After eight seasons, it was cancelled off the backdrop of the implications of the Hollywood Writers strike of 2007 and 2008, which made producing the show expensive for the network.