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Girls on the Bus Canceled at Max

Girls on the Bus Canceled at Max

Max is getting off the bus.

The Warner Bros. Discovery-backed streamer has canceled The Girls on the Bus after a single season on the platform. The Warner Bros. TV-produced drama, originally developed at Netflix and The CW before landing at the studio’s streaming counterpart, wrapped its 10-episode run on May 9.

“While Max will not be moving forward with a second season of The Girls on the Bus, we are grateful to have partnered with immensely talented Amy Chozick, Julie Plec, Rina Mimoun, as well as the teams at Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television. We are so proud of this powerful story of found family and the celebration of journalism, in all its forms. We thank them and our unrivaled cast for all their incredible work and collaboration,” Max said in a statement to THR.

Inspired by a chapter in journalist Amy Chozick’s book Chasing Hillary, Girls on the Bus reunited exec producer Greg Berlanti with his former Supergirl star Melissa Benoist and chronicled four female journalists who followed every move of a parade of flawed presidential candidates, while finding friendship, love and scandal along the way.

Berlanti also reunited with his longtime friend and frequent collaborator Julie Plec on the series. Plec and Chozick wrote the series and exec produced alongside Berlanti and his Berlanti Productions partner Sarah Schechter and head of TV David Madden. For Plec, the series stemmed from her previous overall deal with Warner Bros. TV, with the former Vampire Diaries showrunner having a carve-out for the show as part of her current overall pact with Universal TV.

Girls on the Bus launched in March to mixed reviews. The Hollywood Reporter chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg writes in his review that the show’s “superfluous thriller elements derail[ed] the likable dramedy.” The show currently has a 55 percent score from critics and a warmer 86 percent rating from viewers on Rotten Tomatoes. Carla Gugino, Christina Elmore, Natasha Behnam and Brandon Scott also starred in the series.

Bus brought prolific producer Berlanti back to the political forum after his USA Network limited series Political Animals, which featured Sigourney Weaver playing a Hillary Clinton-like character. Bus also marked Plec’s latest collaboration with Berlanti, with whom she’s been friends since her sophomore year at Northwestern University. Plec, who officiated Berlanti’s wedding, also worked with him during her time as a development exec for Kevin Williamson on Dawson’s Creek. Together, they both executive produced The CW’s short-lived The Tomorrow People.

Bus also marks the latest cancellation to come at Max, following The Flight Attendant, Rap Sh!t, Julia and Our Flag Means Death as networks and streamers alike have been reviewing their slates in a bid to right-size their programming rosters and reduce costs after the Peak TV bubble burst.

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Berlanti, TV’s most prolific scripted producer, has been hit hard by the reduction in scripted programming with Superman & Lois in its final season on The CW, You coming to its conclusion at Netflix and the cancellations of Gotham Knights and Kung Fu at The CW. The Nextar-owned network’s last remaining U.S.-produced scripted shows are both Berlanti’s, All American and its Homecoming spinoff. Both are firmly on the bubble and at least one, if not both, are expected to be canceled as Nexstar reshapes the network.

Berlanti fought hard for Bus to move to Max as The CW was navigating sale talks with Nexstar, which ultimately completely changed the network. The show was originally ordered at Netflix in 2019 following a multiple-outlet bidding war but the streaming giant quietly dropped Bus in 2020. The drama had a production commitment and was beginning to cast when the pandemic hit and was ultimately dropped as part of the streamer’s regime change from Cindy Holland (who bought it) to Bela Bajaria (who dropped it). Sources note that the political backdrop of the series was part of the reason Netflix ultimately bailed on the project. The CW picked it up in September 2021 and had plans to redevelop the series for its younger-focused audience despite the fact that nearly a full season’s worth of scripts had already been completed.

As for Berlanti, he also has Netflix-turned-Max series Dead Boy Detectives, which is awaiting word on its future after bowing in late April; and has season two of NBC’s Found coming next season alongside Zachary Quinto medical drama Brilliant Minds. On the development side, he’s prepping a live-action Scooby-Doo series for Netflix.

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