Why 'Lethal Weapon' Was Canceled After 3 Seasons

Fox dropped a number of narrative shows from its schedule this season, including the once-beloved adaptation of Lethal Weapon.

Fox canceled Lethal Weapon at the end of its third season this spring, bringing an unceremonious end to a show that has been as dramatic off-screen as it was on-screen this year. According to a report by Deadline, Fox CEO Charlie Collier was asked about the Lethal Weapon cancellation on Monday at the network's Upfronts presentation.

"In the quest to be No.1, you have to make tough choices, and Lethal Weapon was unfortunately on the other side [of the bubble]," he said.

Collier added that there were a "series of tough choices we have to make this time of year," and this was just one of them. Still, for some, there is more to the story, as fans have long wondered about the behind-the-scenes drama of Lethal Weapon.

It started last summer when Clayne Crawford, who played Martin Riggs for the first two seasons, was fired. Crawford was accused of abusive behavior on set — cursing at cast and crew members and generally displaying signs of overt rage. Crawford was also accused of improperly handling a stunt during an episode he directed, with Wayans allegedly becoming injured from his direction. He was forced to attend a six-week anger management course, but in the end, he was fired altogether.

Fans were outraged at the loss of Crawford, whom they saw as a perfect fit for the well-established character. There were reports that his partner, Damon Wayans, was angry as well, as it soon came out that he was leaving the show after Season 3. Wayans backtracked this announcement later, saying he would be "open to" a fourth season, but it never came to pass, anyway.

While Crawford's departure stung the fandom and hurt the show's ratings, it did not tank them. The show reportedly got a respectable 1.2 rating among adults ages 18 to 49 this season. In the Live+7 Day ratings, which account for DVRs, on-demand services and some streaming platforms, the show had an average of 5.4 million viewers per episode.

Still, in February, Collier announced that the show would come to a close. Season 3 ended on a cliffhanger, leaving a glimmer of home in some fans' hearts, but it looks like the series is done for good.


It is worth noting that Fox seems to be favoring unscripted shows and live events in the coming season over narrative series in general. The network has given up Thursdays and Fridays to football and the WWE, respectively and is leaning on heavy-hitters like reality competition The Masked Singer to keep viewers hooked.

Lethal Weapon is streaming in its entirety on Hulu.