Netflix has reversed its decision to renew the comedy “GLOW” for a final fourth season, and has decided to cancel the show so as not to deal with any COVID-related production delays.
The streaming service in August 2019 ordered another season of the series about female professional wrestlers in the 1980s. The fourth season was reportedly three weeks into filming when production was suspended in mid-March amid global shutdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic. As the shutdowns lingered, Netflix decided the challenges of resuming production of the series, which is filmed in the Los Angeles area, weren’t worth the cost.
The cancellation was initially reported Oct. 5 by Deadline, which indicated the show already had one episode of the fourth season completed.
The show, with its large cast, had been expensive to produce prior to the shutdown, and a budget increase related to proposals to minimize health risks during the pandemic were deemed too expensive by Netflix. Among the challenges were numerous wrestling scenes requiring high physicality and close contact among the cast members that would exceed social distancing guidelines.
In addition, Netflix projected the earliest the fourth season could premiere was 2022, and decided too much of the show’s audience would have lost interest by then to justify the ongoing production costs.
“GLOW” stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin and Marc Maron. All of the series regulars were reportedly paid in full for the fourth season.
“We were handed the creative freedom to make a complicated comedy about women and tell their stories. And wrestle. And now that’s gone,” series creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch told Deadline. “There’s a lot of sh*tty things happening in the world that are much bigger than this right now. But it still sucks that we don’t get to see these 15 women in a frame together again. We’ll miss our cast of weirdo clowns and our heroic crew. It was the best job.”
Many of the show’s loyal fans immediately took to social media to decry the decision and vow that they would have waited as long as it took to see how the series was supposed to end.
The series, which premiered in 2017, is based on the real-life Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling organization. It earned 15 Emmy nominations, winning three.
The first two seasons depicted the ladies developing a wrestling TV show in the Los Angeles market, only to have their sponsoring TV station shut them down just as they were becoming a cult hit. The third season saw the ladies take their show to Las Vegas, setting up the possibility of their return to television.
It’s unclear what will become of the completed footage, and if it will be released as a final episode.
Circumstances related to COVID also drove Netflix to cancel previously commissioned second seasons of “The Society” and “I Am Not Okay With This.”