Paramount+ is joining the ever-growing list of streaming platforms that are canceling and removing content for a tax write-off. This time the series “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies,” “Star Trek: Prodigy,” “Queen of the Universe,” and “The Game” all got axed. These shows will also be purged from the platform to allow them to take a tax write-off for the underperforming series.
“The Paramount+ series Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, Star Trek: Prodigy, Queen of the Universe and The Game have completed their runs on Paramount+ and will not be returning to the service,” a Paramount+ spokesperson said in a statement. “We want to extend our thanks to our tremendously talented cast and crew and our producing partners for their passionate work and dedication on these programs, and we wish them all the best on their future endeavors.”
“Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” just finished its first, and possibly only, season on June 1st. The continuation of the popular musical films about high school rebels was originally intended for Max. It was reworked for Paramount+ when the Warner Bros. Discovery-backed streamer dropped it. While the series will be shopped elsewhere, given its poor reviews, the odds of it getting picked up seem slim.
“Queen of the Universe” is an unscripted drag singing competition in its second season. It boasts celebrity judges from the world of music, drag, and reality TV. The last four episodes of the final season will hit Paramount+ on June 22nd. But if you want to see the last few episodes you’ll have to be quick. The series will be removed on June 30th.
“The Game” is a revival of the former CW/BET comedy centered around football. BET is part of the larger Paramount Global portfolio but has its own streaming service. This may have confused viewers as to why its two-season revival was on Paramount+. The first nine seasons that ran on BET will stay on Paramount+, its revival will be removed from the platform. Though producer, CBS Studios, does intend to shop the license for the series. Which may fair well given its already established reputation.
The most shocking of these cancellations is “Star Trek: Prodigy,” since Paramount+ had already renewed it for a second season in November. The kid-focused, animated series was even a key series for “Star Trek” franchise runner Alex Kurtzman. He believed the show would introduce the “Star Trek” universe to the younger generation. And as we all know, big fans normally come from little fans, making them the lifeblood of any dynasty. The crew will finish postproduction on the second season before they shop both seasons to other potential buyers.
This is bound to get a bit weird since Paramount+ is the central hub for all things “Star Trek.” The company recently announced plans for a “Star Trek: Section 31” movie, and the young-adult series “Star Trek: Starfleet Academy.” This is in addition “Strange New Worlds” season 2, the animated “Lower Decks,” and the final season of “Discovery.”
It is expected Paramount + will remove more content in the not-too-distant future. But these are the most high-profile shows that have been confirmed to be canceled and removed by the company. The value of the tax write-off their purging will get is expected to be disclosed on an upcoming earnings call. All of this is also happening while they plan to incorporate Showtime into their platform in the US by June 27th. Which is something they are using to further justify the cancellations.
“In the unified Paramount+ with Showtime plan, the Showtime portfolio of edgy, critically acclaimed programming will complement the broad and popular Paramount+ library in a seamless offering that appeals to everyone, enables more discovery between the brands and builds overall viewership,” a Paramount+ spokesperson said in a statement. “As we prepare to combine Paramount+ and Showtime later this month in the U.S., we are refining our content offering to deliver the best streaming experience for subscribers. This is consistent with our content strategy since launch and across our business, which ensures we make smart, efficient choices, informed by audience data and insights. We are removing select programming as we look to optimize Showtime’s robust slate of premium originals.”
There is also this possiblity removing the series(es) is Paramount+’s way of getting out of paying creatives’ residuals for a cancelled series remaining on the platform, which is a current point of contestation with the ongoing WGA strike.