TGIT is dead. Long live TGIT. The twist-filled night of Shondaland shows is coming to a decided end. The long death began after the Shonda Rhimes created show Scandal came to an end. That was followed by a two-season run of For The People, a show in which almost nobody seemed to know who the people it was for were.
One of the cornerstones of the female-centric night on ABC has been How To Get Away With Murder. The Peter Nowalk show has been a great ratings champion for the alphabet network and also an Emmy magnet. HTGAWM will have one last season to prove it’s legacy, as it has been announced the show is ending with season six.
How To Get Away With Declining Ratings
Debuting after Scandal, and matching that show twist for twist, HTGAWM was an immediate hit. Having Oscar winner Viola Davis as the star of the show certainly helped. As did the most diverse cast of characters and actors seen on a TV show. A soapy, sexy premise baked into the show helped as well. All of the ingredients were there for a successful show.
While all of the original aspects remained, many fans abandoned the show. Each season the ratings got a little lower, and the renewals started coming in a little later. Many looked at the production schedule, the show only produced 15 episodes per season, as Davis’ contract stipulated, as one of the reasons.
Others argued that there are only so many ways and times you can get away with murder.
How To Get Away With Winning Awards
Despite the ratings dwindling, ABC stayed high on the show for two big reasons, it came from their most prolific producer, Shonda Rhimes. And it was Emmy bait. While most broadcast networks are competing for nominations, HTGAWM was winning awards for their home network.
Viola Davis will go down in history as the first woman of color to win a Lead Actress Primetime Emmy Award. Karey Burke, ABC Entertainment President, said: “Viola Davis made television history with her unforgettable portrayal of iconic female antihero Annalise Keating, “I am eternally grateful to her, Pete Nowalk and Shondaland for creating and bringing to life such a smart, sophisticated and groundbreaking series that has long been an integral part of Thursday nights on ABC.”
How To Get Away With Ending The Show
Despite the rating lows the show has experienced as of late, there is still a passionate fan base. Why end the series now? A lot of fans expected this announcement back at the time the show was renewed. Which is fair. Davis and the rest of the cast’s contracts were coming to an end, and with reduced revenue coming in, there was little incentive for the production company to give them their deserved raises.
However, Nowalk says that it’s all about the story’s natural conclusion, despite him having a hard time letting go. In a statement he said: “Deciding to end this series was a brutal decision, but ultimately the story tells you what to do – as it did here,”
Nowalk continued: “For me, Annalise Keating’s journey has always had a clear ending. Knowing I have 15 episodes left to finish her story, and the chance to give all the characters their own killer endings, is a gift rarely given to a series creator and I’m grateful to ABC and ABC Studios for the opportunity and creative freedom.” There are many shows that woulf kill for a chance to wrap up their stories.
Nowalk finished by thanking everyone: “I am so thankful to the brilliant cast, writers and crew for dedicating themselves to the most rewarding experience of my career over the last six years. I also want to thank our fans. The only reason this show exists is because of your loyalty and enthusiasm. I can’t wait for you all to see how it ends, with twists and turns and all the craziness we love to create every Thursday night. Buckle up.”
How To Get Away With A Continuation
Because there is a rabid and passionate fan base, there will be talks about how to continue the story. Already there has been talk about telling more stories via a book series. Doing this would allow Disney (the conglomerate that owns the show) to continue to capitalize on one of it’s strongest assets, while pleasing fans. If even 10% of the nearly 20 million fans who watched the show regularly (ABC/On-demand/Netflix) bought the book series, it would be stationed at the top of the best-seller list for quite some time. Just like Disney’s other prized franchise, Star Wars is.
Some people are already eyeing a reboot of the show, perhaps as a series of TV Movies. This would be an interesting way for them to go, but the serialized storytelling the show employs does not seem to lend itself to that format.
How do you think HTGAWM could live on?