There was no last-minute reprieve for the show this time, with ABC on Friday canceling it after two seasons. Sony Pictures TV, which co-produces For Life with ABC Signature, is expected to shop the series to other buyers including Hulu, where For Life, starring Nicholas Pinnock, has done well.
For Life, from creator/executive producer Hank Steinberg and executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, has proven timely with its exploration of racial inequality in the justice system. The show delivered on that by becoming one of the first scripted series to go into production during the pandemic in early fall despite its Season 2 order being originally for midseason. As a result, For Life was back on the air by November.
The drama has not performed well on linear — it is ABC’s lowest-rated scripted series of the current season in Live+Same Day. It is done better in delayed viewing and best in digital viewing on Hulu, bringing new African American audiences to the streamer; expanding the platform’s reach among Black viewers has been a goal for the Disney streamer, and For Life could help with that. (For Life also was ABC’s top drama series among Black viewers.)
For Life is inspired by the life of Isaac Wright Jr. who was wrongfully convicted as drug kingpin but got his conviction overturned while in prison and became a licensed attorney. It is a fictional serialized legal and family drama about an imprisoned man, Aaron Wallace, played by Nicholas Pinnock, who becomes a lawyer litigating cases for other inmates while fighting to overturn his own life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. His quest for freedom is driven by his desperate desire to get back to the family he loves – his estranged wife and daughter – and reclaim the life that was stolen from him. For Life also examines the flaws and challenges in our penal and legal systems.
Joy Bryant, Ty Harris and Indira Varma also star.
Steinberg, Tillman, Jackson and his G-Unit Film & Television production company and Wright Jr. executive produce alongside Robinson and Greenspan via Doug Robinson Productions.