EXCLUSIVE: S.W.A.T. may be down but not out. The drama, which was canceled on Friday after six seasons, could come back for a seventh season on CBS, sources tell Deadline.
I hear renewal conversations between CBS and S.W.A.T. lead studio Sony Pictures Television restarted on Friday, soon after the series starring Shemar Moore was officially canceled, with the news facing immediate backlash from fans who rallied behind the popular show.
Talks have continued over the weekend into Monday. The situation is still tenuous but there have been positive signs, I hear. Resolution is expected by end of day; CBS is slated to unveil its fall schedule Wednesday, May 10. If an agreement is made, I hear it would be for a 13-episode seventh season of S.W.A.T. Reps for CBS and Sony TV declined comment.
Intentionally — on not — Moore hinted at a potential reversal in his emotional reaction to the cancellation on Instagram Friday night.
“Its all about money, y’all. They said we’re canceled, but guess what I don’t think we’re done,” he said in a video message to fans. “CBS is either gonna wake up and realize they made a mistake. Sony is gonna do their math and realize that this is not the right move. I hope we can have a kumbaya and come back together and continue this show because it’s a good time for families across the world.”
While a S.W.A.T. cancellation reversal would be a cause of celebration for fans of the long-running procedural, whose demise was a business decision, it may not be good news for freshman cop drama East New York, starring Amanda Warren.
Renewal negotiations between CBS and East New York lead studio Warner Bros. TV also have been bumpy — in addition to financial issues they also have included a squabble over additional streaming rights CBS requested for the series. Negotiations have progressed and are ongoing but I hear that S.W.A.T. and East New York may be competing for one slot. Both are rare broadcast dramas with Black leads.
Canceled series finding new homes is more common; a network reversing its cancellation decision is rare. Coincidentally — or not — three previous cases involved Sony TV series, Timeless on NBC (co-created/executive produced by S.W.A.T. exec producer/showrunner Shawn Ryan), Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime and Breaking In on Fox.
As Deadline reported on Friday, Sony was not willing to take another S.W.A.T. renewal at a flat license fee as that would compromise the show’s financial model. CBS eventually went up on the license fee but the offer came with a cut of the order, which would’ve pushed up the per-episode budget even higher and further hurt the show’s economics.
That part is now being sorted out, as I hear production executives on both sides feel that not all avenues had been explored to make a renewal work.
S.W.A.T. has been enjoying a ratings resurgence. Following its move to Fridays, the law enforcement drama has flourished, posting rare double-digit linear viewership increase year-to-year. A strong 8 PM anchor, S.W.A.T. has contributed to reinvigorating CBS’ Friday drama lineup and helped launch new breakout hit Fire Country.
Part 2 of the sixth season finale of S.W.A.T. airs Friday, May 19, on CBS.