‘Speechless’ Cancellation Was A “Gut Wrenching” Decision For ABC Chief Karey Burke

The cancellation of Speechless was a “gut wrenching” decision for ABC boss Karey Burke.

The ABC Entertainment president revealed that it was a tough decision that caused a lot of “anguish” and also hit hard given that creator and exec producer Scott Silveri is a former producing partner of hers.

“There was a lot of anguish for me and all of us at ABC. We love Speechless, it was a very tough decision. Scott Silveri is a former producing partner of mine and it was not without great gut wrenching consideration that we ultimately made that call. We looked at a lot of factors and ultimately it came down to numbers and feeling like we could shore up the night more strongly with Fresh Off The Boat,” she said at Disney’s press upfronts.

The Minnie Driver-fronted series was cancelled after three seasons but was not a huge surprise given that it was ABC’s lowest-rated series.

Co-produced by now corporate siblings 20th Century Fox TV and ABC Studios, Speechless starred Driver and John Ross Bowie as the parents of JJ (Micah Fowler), who has cerebral palsy, and his siblings Dylan (Kyla Kennedy) and Ray (Mason Cook). Cedric Yarbrough also starred as JJ’s aide, who serves as his voice.

Creator Scott Silveri executive produced the show, along with Fresh Off the Boat’s Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar.

Speechless had aired at 8:30 PM Wednesdays since its fall 2016 launch before moving to 8:30 PM Fridays this season. The third season wrapped April 12, with the sitcom averaging a 0.8 in the adults 18-49 demo and 3.1 million viewers.

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