Netflix has opted not to renew freshman comedy series Girlboss for a second season. The show, inspired by Sophia Amoruso’s popular autobiography, starred Britt Robertson and Ellie Reed. Its 13-episode first season debuted on April 21.
Written/executive produced by Pitch Perfect scribe Kay Cannon and directed by Christian Ditter, Girlboss hailed from Charlize Theron’s Denver & Delilah production company. It centered on Sophia (Robertson), a rebellious, broke anarchist who refuses to grow up. She stumbles upon her passion of selling vintage clothes online and becomes an unlikely businesswoman.
The short run of Girlboss follows the recent high-profile cancellations of big-budget Netflix drama series The Get Down after one season and Sense8 after two seasons.
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos earlier this month discussed the rationale behind the Internet network’s cancellation decisions, indicating that performance is playing a bigger role than it may have in Netflix’s early days as original series player. “Relative to what you spent, are people watching it?,” Sarandos said at PGA’s Produced By conference. “When I say that, a big expensive show for a huge audience is great. A big, expensive show for a tiny audience is hard even in our model to make that work very long.”
While we are coming off a string of three Netflix scripted series cancellations in the past month or so, the streaming platform’s renewal ratio remains high. Girlboss is the first ongoing comedy series to get cancelled since Netflix entered the original half-hour series arena with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in March 2015. That is fifteen comedy series to date, which have either been renewed for another season or awaiting decision, including the most recent entries G.L.O.W., which is shaping up to potentially become Netflix’s next breakout hit, fellow critically praised newcomer Dear White People, and cult hit Arrested Development, which also is getting another season.
Unlike most Netflix comedy series, Girlboss was poorly reviewed — 32% on Rotten Tomatoes — and it had a central character that was not very likable, which could be a challenge. “We’re creating a show in which the lead is maybe unlikeable,” Cannon said on a panel in February, adding that Netflix was OK with the idea to have a female lead as complex as any male lead.
Cannon, who served as showrunner, executive produced Girlboss alongside Theron and Laverne McKinnon of D&D as well as Ditter and Amoruso who shared the news of Girlboss’ cancellation on Instagram.
“While I’m proud of the work we did, I’m looking forward to controlling my narrative from here on out,” she wrote. “It was a good show, and I was privileged to work with incredible talent, but living my life as a caricature was hard even if only for two months.”