HBO Cancels Another Show Amidst Discovery Merger

HBO has canceled Gentleman Jack about a month after Season 2 aired in the U.S. The series was acclaimed when it premiered, but Season 2 was heavily delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and received low ratings in its time slot on Monday nights, according to a report by Deadline. Many fans are devastated and are observing a pattern as WarnerMedia merges with Discovery.

Gentleman Jack, a co-production with BBC, is a historical drama set in the early 19th century and is a fictionalized take on the life of Anne Lister (Suranne Jones), an industrialist and a covert lesbian at a time when LGBTQ+ rights were virtually nonexistent. The show was lauded for its representation and its breakout performances, while its low ratings in the second season were attributed largely to its new place on the schedule. An HBO spokesperson gave a statement on the cancellation to Deadline without giving much of a reason.

The statement read: "HBO will not be moving forward with a third season of Gentleman Jack. When we began this journey more than five years ago, we knew the series' creator Sally Wainwright had a uniquely compelling vision, and it's been tremendously gratifying to see how Anne Lister's journey has resonated with viewers. We are incredibly grateful to Sally, to the impeccable Suranne Jones and Sophie Rundle, and to the entire cast and crew for bringing Anne and Ann's story to life. We'd also like to thank our partners at BBC and Lookout Point for their collaboration on two remarkable seasons."

The following day, the show's stars, Jones and Sophie Rundle shared disappointed statements on social media about the cancellation. Jones wrote on Instagram: "While it is sad news Gentleman Jack will not be renewed, this show has brought so many together, enabled people to share their stories, brought joy, emotion and creativity, and gave me a real connection to you as its audience."

"Anne Lister now has a statue in the Piece Hall," she went on. "There is a Blue plaque in Holy Trinity church yard celebrating Anne and Ann's union in 1834. There is a college named after Anne Lister on the East campus at the University of York. Shibden now has more visitors than ever before and you will find Anne Lister walks, tours and trails galore when visiting Halifax and its surrounding areas. I have never been involved in a show that has made such a huge impact and touched my heart like this one has. It wasn't always the easiest job I've had... but it was always worth it to see the response it got."


Rundle wrote: "What a privilege it has been to play Ann Walker and bring her and Anne Lister's extraordinary love story back to life. I am so proud to have been a part of reclaiming their place in history... I am overwhelmed by the love this show inspired. And PROUD. So fiercely proud."

Both seasons of Gentleman Jack are streaming now on HBO Max for viewers in the U.S. So far there has been no talk of reviving the show elsewhere – except among hopeful fans on social media.