'S.W.A.T.' renewed for Season 7 after Shemar Moore criticized CBS for cancellation
CBS has reversed its decision to cancel "S.W.A.T.," announcing Monday that it would renew the show for a seventh and final season.
The season will have only 13 episodes and it will air sometime in 2023 or 2024, the network confirmed to The Times. A typical network season is about 22 episodes.
The reversal follows criticism from the show's star, Shemar Moore, who over the weekend called the network's decision to drop the show after six seasons "a f— mistake." He underscored the series' diverse cast and positive ratings and called on fans to "make ... noise" about the cancellation.
“We have listened to our viewers and their outpouring of passion for S.W.A.T. and we have reached an agreement to renew it for a final season of 13 episodes to air during the 2023-2024 broadcast year," said Amy Reisenbach, president of CBS Entertainment, and Katherine Pope, president of Sony Pictures Television Studios, in a joint statement to The Times. "S.W.A.T. has aired for six seasons on CBS and garnered a devoted following. We are pleased that we found a way to bring it back and give closure to the show’s storylines and characters, which audiences deserve."
In a video posted to Instagram on Friday, Moore said CBS' cancellation "makes no sense." He credited "S.W.A.T." as CBS' "most diverse show" and said he was "the only African American male lead on network television."
CBS currently airs other shows with diverse casts, including the sitcom "The Neighborhood" starring Cedric the Entertainer, the crime drama "The Equalizer" starring Queen Latifah and "CSI: Vegas," with Paula Newsome leading its cast.
When "S.W.A.T." debuted in 2017, CBS was facing criticism for its lack of diversity after it released a fall schedule that featured six new shows all starring white men, a moment that Moore recalled when he was hired to play the show's lead, Sgt. Daniel "Hondo" Harrelson.
The LAPD-centered cop drama, based on the 1970s show of the same name and the subsequent 2003 film, was heralded as a rare opportunity of diversity.
“To our fortunate surprise, from the very beginning [CBS was] really, really adamant about trying to stay within their brand but do the next wave, the modern version, to lean into some areas that they hadn’t touched on before," the show's executive producer, Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, told The Times in 2017. Thomas, who is Black, was also credited with filling the directing and writing positions with people of color and women.
“There weren’t enough dramas that were taking people of color seriously,” Thomas said, recalling what he saw on TV while growing up in the 1970s and 1980s.
With the rebooted "S.W.A.T.," Moore went on to headline a main cast that also featured Mexican American actor Stephanie Sigman; Lina Esco, who is Colombian; and David Lim, who is Chinese American. Behind its car chases and explosive scenes, the show focused on issues of race relations between police and the community and within the LAPD.
"And the world took us in and embraced us," Moore said. "And the ratings have only been getting better and better and better."
In its Friday evening slot, the show's ratings have continued to increase each year, according to TV Series Finale, which releases Nielsen ratings data.
Since calls for more diversity industry-wide intensified in 2020, TV shows made gains in diverse casting, specifically among lead actors, with an increase in Black performers, according to a UCLA's 2022 Hollywood Diversity Report, which covers data from the 2020-21 season. However, the study found persisting issues with diversity of its writers and producers.
With "S.W.A.T." as an exception, Moore said he was concerned less about himself, but the entire crew, including the writers and producers, caterers, construction crews, sound mixers and other postproduction members.
"I will get in a lot of trouble with CBS because I'm calling them out," Moore said, adding that he's had a good relationship with the network for the last several decades, after having also starred on CBS shows "The Young and the Restless" and "Criminal Minds."
"But to abruptly get told that you're canceled," Moore continued, "when you led us to believe last week and the week before and the week before that, that we would have some semblance of a Season 7 to at least say goodbye, if not continue."
Moore called on fans to "make some f— noise" to urge studio executives to rethink their decision.
"This ain't the way to go out," he said. "If we're gonna go out, cool, but let us go out right."
The last two episodes of the sixth season of "S.W.A.T." air on May 12 and 19.
Elsewhere on TV, Fox also recently announced that it was canceling Mayim Bialik's sitcom "Call Me Kat" after three seasons.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.