A day after word came down that Shadowhunters would end its three-season run on Freeform in 2019, the network’s head of programming insisted that executives were “very happy creatively” with the show.
The decision to cancel the series was “purely economic,” said Karey Burke, EVP, Programming and Development, during a media luncheon held today in New York by the Disney-owned network. One key element, Burke explained, was the overall strategic shift at Freeform toward ordering shows in smaller batches. That decision triggered the end of the valuable Netflix output deal with the network’s co-production partner, Germany-based Constantin Film. “We went back and forth with them but ultimately we just couldn’t make the economics work,” she said. “We were very happy creatively with it.”
Based on the Mortal Instruments novels, the fantasy drama will end its run in 2019 with a 12-episode season, bigger than the original 10-episode third season ordered by Freeform. The current third season is based on the fourth and fifth books in the series. Its two-hour finale will be based on the sixth and final installment.
Burke said the network is at peace with the decision. Still, she marveled at its rapid growth as a passion point for fans that one industry ranking, she said, put ahead of even The Walking Dead among young viewers in terms of social-media interaction.
“They delivered what the fans wanted,” she said. “I remember being at Comic-Con and seeing the excitement for the show and thinking, ‘This could be our Supernatural,'” referring to the genre staple that the CW just renewed for its 14th season.