Why did NBC cancel Magnum P.I.?

MAGNUM P.I. -- Photo: Karen Neal/CBS -- Acquired via CBS Press Express
MAGNUM P.I. -- Photo: Karen Neal/CBS -- Acquired via CBS Press Express /

In a surprising move NBC has canceled Magnum P.I. The procedural was saved by the network in the 11th hour back in July 2022 after the series was let go from CBS due to its licensing fees. Originally, the reporting was that NBC had picked up the show for two seasons, each comprised of ten episodes. However, that changed prior to season 5’s premiere on the network.

Reports stated that the series did not have a guaranteed season 6 renewal and, instead, fans could anticipate a fifth season that would be broken up into two equal parts. The first ten episodes of season 5 ran through to Sunday, April 23. There had been no word prior to the midseason finale when viewers would see Part 2 of the season. It wasn’t until NBC announced their 2023-2024 schedule that it had become clear that the show was being held until 2024.

The long hiatus was not news fans wanted to hear especially since production on the season had already wrapped, meaning that it could have made the fall schedule. However, the industry is in the middle of a writers strike and is on the precipice of an actors strike. Holding Part 2 until the midseason makes sense for NBC because if the strike lasts for too much longer they may need to move it to the fall in order to fill gaps in their line-up.

But why did the network cancel the series? Here’s what we know.

Why was Magnum P.I. canceled by NBC?

It seems the series may be a casualty of the writers strike. Deadline reports that while NBC didn’t have to make a renewal decision this early on the show since it was being held for next year, cast options expire on June 30. This is also the same day that an agreement must be reached with SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP in order to avoid an actors strike.

The network had three choices: renew Magnum P.I. for a sixth season, extend the options on the cast, or release the actors and cancel the series. Obviously they chose the latter. The outlet speculates a renewal wasn’t in the cards because networks have been conservative about season pick ups due to the writers strike and an unclear timeline for when show’s could go into production again. If an actors strike is triggered after June 30, that timeline would get even murkier.

Will Magnum P.I. be saved?

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely the series will be picked up at another network or streamer. NBC already saved the show when it was canceled the first time. While it is a strong performer that would leave ABC or FOX to pick up the show which is highly unlikely. A streamer also isn’t likely to try for a sixth season due to complicated streaming rights. In-season Magnum P.I. is available on Peacock while previous seasons stream on Paramount+. That would leave another streamer without access to seasons 1-5 which is a hard sell.

Stay tuned to Hidden Remote for more NBC news and coverage. Magnum P.I. season 5 Part 2 is schedule to begin airing in 2024.

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