ABC announced a portion of its fall schedule on Tuesday, including some cancellations such as the drama series Rebel. The network is now being run by Hulu president Craig Erwich, in addition to his other duties. Erwich explained the rationale behind some of his decisions — including the Rebel cancellation — in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
"[Rebel creator] Krista Vernoff is brilliant," Erwich began. "She's a vital partner to us and part of the Disney family. She created something very special there. Given the show and given our partnership with Krista, we gave it a really big launch. We focused a lot of our efforts across the entire company in telling people about this show and unfortunately, the audience didn't amass the way it needed to. We tried to give the decision and the show every benefit of the doubt, but ultimately we just couldn't find a path forward."
This fact is disappointing news to fans of the series — not to mention its cast, crew and creators. ABC canceled Rebel after only five episodes had aired, and many thought it should have gotten more of a chance to find its footing. When asked about this gripe, Erwich insisted that the cancellation was not hasty.
"It was a very carefully considered decision and one we tried to be methodical about," he said. "Part of the process was examining the behavior in terms of on-demand viewing and catch up. How is it performing days after its performance on multiplatform viewing? And there was just not a trend there toward continuing to build the audience. Ultimately that's what led to a very difficult decision."
Erwich answered other broad questions about his plans for and his work so far. As the president of both ABC and Hulu, he is expected to help usher the network into the streaming era in all-new ways. However, since the parent company Disney also has Disney+, Freeform and other outlets to manage, he is still handling a relatively small fiefdom in the grand scheme of things.
"The viewers and the audience look to ABC and Hulu for sometimes different things," he said. "They afford different opportunities for our creators. What is great now is that we have, as a combined oversight, have a bigger chessboard, which allows us to see more moves and more opportunities. I get a lot of questions and we talk a lot about what's on ABC and what's on Hulu but the fact is ABC shows are on Hulu the next day. The platforms complement each other. For the audience member, they're not really making a distinction."
Rebel is streaming now on Hulu, with a free trial available here. So far, there is no word of the show getting picked up elsewhere.